Monday, May 2, 2011

And I Will Talk of Being Liked and of Being Loved

For those who may not know, Drance is a commentor from time to time on this blog, though the gentle reader may not have seen his comments.  I find most of the time I have to delete them.  They're not generally relevant and at times they are flatly abusive.  But I'd like to make a point about free speech here ... that while Drance may be deleted from this blog, he's quite free to write what he wants elsewhere.  Case in point, the comments below, which are part of a comment he made on this post, on a blog I rarely read.

"Not to name names, but someone needs to tell some guy named Alexis at Tao of D&D to get over himself. Every time I look at his blog, hoping against hope he’s stopped being an elitist fuck, I’m continually disappointed. I don’t care how well he can write (and it pains me to say that I think he’s pretty good) or how articulate he is or how profound he can be…his delivery fucking stinks. Just because you hand me a gold nugget wrapped in pigshit doesn’t mean I’m going to be grateful!

Alexis, take note: you’re being a know-it-all about a pastime that can, on it’s most basic level, be described as “playing pretend.” Now I don’t say that to belittle the hobby. Read my blog and you’ll see I am in love with RPGs. No, I’m being critical of the killjoys who need to, as the kids say these days, “get all meta” about the hobby. Dude, I don’t care how much you know. If you keep talking to people like we’re fucktards, you will reap nothing but disdain."

Yes, I am quite familiar with this round hole, and with the use of the hammer in Drance's hand.  Let me start by saying that no, I'm not going to go off here.  But I would like to use the above written critique to address some points about this blog, and about my personality in general.

There's a lot of substance here; I think probably I'm not going to try handling it in the order it's written.  I'd like to start with the words, "playing pretend," since that's less a shot against me personally than it is a shot against anybody and everybody who takes D&D seriously.

I have written a post about this.  The game is not only pretending to me, it's an authentic presentation of an artistic design, weaved together in a complex and resolutely considered fashion, constructed both from my imagination and from researched sources.  It is no more "playing pretend" than is writing a novel, where a created character is devised, placed in a given situation and that situation resolved in order to present both entertainment for the reader and a thematic purpose.

It isn't so much that the words 'playing' and 'pretend' are substantially wrong in their description of what D&D is, or what a novel is.  I know, and the reader knows, that the words are put together here in this context in order to denegrate the activity and reduce it to the lowest common denominator.  The words are chosen because of their association with kindergarten and preschool surroundings.  They hurt because as adults we feel our maturity is deserving of recognition - we have lived long, and through a great deal of trouble, to become the age we have reached, and it hurts to have that denied ... even when the denial is the pairing of words which we first learned at that very young age.  We were told to 'grow up' ... and when our effort to do so is challenged, it stabs like a nail.  But the reality is that creativity is a virtue, certainly one of the greatest virtues, and to be labeled with it is no great insult.  We age and the words 'playing' and 'pretend' are replaced with more meaningful words like 'designing' or 'conceptualizing,' but the principles are the same.  At the board meeting your boss does not sit down and say, "Let's pretend that this airplane we're playing with exists," but prior to the actual existence of said airplane it is of this that most design meetings consist.

Drance says he does not mean to belittle the hobby, and that he loves RPGs, as evidenced by his blog.  He has chosen to name his blog from a quote by Shakespeare that denotes a moment of war, wherein Henry V strives to take the city of Harfleur.  Prior to speaking the words of Drance's blog title, Henry has been knocked back and back again, but he is undeterred.  Regarding the substance of Drance's personality, I choose to believe that he identifies with this aspect of Henry, and that - undeterred - he is waging a war against things he does not believe in favor of that which he does.  He will take the city, and therefore he will plow once again into the breach.  I get it.  And I accept that his purpose in this quote is not to rank the hobby, or those who are playing in it.  I am Harfleur in this play, and it is the breach he perceives in my character that he takes arms against.

But he says he cares nothing about what I know.  My personal feeling is that my knowledge of Shakespeare, Henry V and Harfleur ought to be very important to Drance.  I don't believe he threw out the title of his blog in a random fit of disinterest - I'm certain he struggled with the decision.  How much better is the title, then, when those out here in the world who are reading it know the source of the reference?  And how much worse is the title when it is met with ignorance and disinterest?  The title is improved with knowledge ... in this case, my knowledge.  The same knowledge I carry around with me and apply to every creative, pretending effort produced by those who have taken the time to be clever.

Ah, but here the context is not so much that my knowledge is useless, it is that it is clothed in a mass of disapproval, abuse, awful delivery and elitism.  The delivery, Drance says clearly, is a mess of pigshit, so that all that knowledge is worthless when buried in it.

Well yes, I'm not going to deny it.  I have never denied it on this blog.  I am a terrible person.  I am unkind.  I am an asshole.  And I do speak to a great many of my readers as though they are fucktards.  I am on record over, and over again, that I have no use for fucktards.  And I am on record as recognizing that I can't keep fucktards from reading this blog, though I wish it were possible.  I look around the D&D online community and I observe that everywhere message boards and comments sections under brilliant posts are filled with the comments and non-comments which either piss on the material or fail to add anything.  This is not the world as I would want it to be.  This is my Harfleur.  I wage against those who are ignorant and disinterested in things like the title of Drance's blog.  And in fighting my way through that breach I've struck and hacked and cut with my sword, because to battle for anything you believe in is unpleasant, cruel work.  Battles are won with swords.  I cannot win over the fucktards, this I know, but I will not renounce the sword and give them the day.  So I fight.

I can't quite believe that my behavior has caused me to "reap nothing but disdain."  In fact, any quick analysis of the internet (which is how I found Drance's comment in the first place) yields many, many positive, impressed comments, suggestions to others to read my blog, praise for my blog, links to my blog and so on.  There are very, very few statements of disdain ... and those that I do see tend to include phrases such as "I think he's pretty good," occasionally couched in something that says the writer is unhappy that its true.

There is something telling in being dismissed, attacked and hated while at the same time gaining respect for the actual work-slash-writing I'm producing.  I suppose it has something to do with my not being "over myself."  I must tell the reader, I quite like me.  I like the things that I say, I like the life that I have made for myself with my friends, my wife and my daughter, I like the creative road that I'm on and I like the opportunity that exists to make a fair bit of money and be comfortable in my living arrangements.  I have several opportunities to produce good work, I am generally respected both offline and online, and I have few - if any - negative people whom I must tolerate in my daily existence.  For these reasons, no, I'm not really over myself.  I feel I have my feet firmly enough on the ground in that I'm aware I'm not always pleasant to people.  I don't delude myself that I'm well-liked ... I know that I am not.  But I am well respected.  And I know from many years of experience, many of which played out before the Internet, that in the long run it is more important to be respected than to be liked.  People who will like you today may or may not change their minds when the wind changes; but people who respect you today, for something that they themselves cannot do, will respect you tomorrow.

It is that whole process of performing an action that not everyone can do that creates the virtue of elitism.  To make the point, I quite like to watch the Tour de France.  I will never race in the Tour de France.  At no time in my life was there ever a chance that I would.  But I respect the limited number of world competitors who ride those twenty grueling days because they are doing something I cannot do.  They are the elite of the bicycle world.  They know it.  The crowds know it, the reporters know it, and every cyclist in the world from 9 to 90, who ever dreamed of competing, knows it.  Some of those riders are assholes.  Some are very definitely not over themselves.  But no one cares.  It isn't relevant.  The crowds have not come to watch more than a hundred likeable fellows cruise by.
They have come to see gods ride.

I am not a god, no.  But I understand the principle.  And I understand as I work and create and devise and write, the wheels of the universe may turn this way and that, and I may present something to the world that sells this amount and is read by this many.  It is a question of opportunity.  I've had opportunities, and at moments I've felt I've come close to having the wheels align just so, but not yet.  I don't worry about it.  I concentrate on my work, and not on being liked ... and as it happens, I'm liked anyway.

What Drance cannot understand - what many cannot understand - is that all people are either liked or disliked for innumerable reasons.  We either satisfy the requirements of another person, or we do not.  We are either the dinner company that thrills the host, or we are not.  And in the process of discovering which dinner parties we should be attending, we find ourselves having to decide if it is all that important that people who do not like us for who we are like us at all.

That is undoubtedly glib.  I've come to a place where I've reconciled with not being liked.  I'm quite content to know that if I enter a room with a hundred people, perhaps one or two will like me enough to talk to me.  As it happens, those persons will like me A LOT.  They will want to talk to me, and only me, for the course of the evening.  And I will want to talk to them, because I will like them, too.

That's how it goes.  We like whom we like, and we are liked upon the whims of those we meet.  I cannot satisfy Drance's hope that I will somehow cease to be me.  I presume he has located people whom he can like, and who can provide him the gold nuggets he desires.  I cannot be that person.  More to the point, I do not want to be that person.  I am busy being me.

And so we come to the end of this post.  I shall continue to contribute to D&D in the way that best suits me.  I shall rely upon the gentle reader to continue reading here if it suits his or her tastes, and to seek elsewhere if I fail to meet the requirement.  It has always been so.  None of us are so good that we will not be dispised by someone ... and none of us are such failures that we are measured by the number of those who love us.

Love is such a sweet, rich thing that being loved by one person in the world is enough for anyone.


Anthony said...

Tangent: Best/Worst thing about internet publishing/blogging:

Every carefully crafted phrase, every witty allegory, every insightful allusion, all of them can be Googled and deciphered within seconds. Greater appreciation or cheapening of the author's skills?

Oh, and good post! :D

Dyson Logos said...

I would say I'm sorry you don't read my blog often, but the reality is that I gave up on worrying about readership when everyone else I knew had 200 or so followers and I have 34 subscribers.

Anyways, that particular post of mine ends up being way more negative than I like to be (with my whole emphasis on being positive and awesome instead of being a drag), but Drance continues the whole thing not only being hostile and negative, but using my blog as a platform to yell out about you.

Personally, I get fed up with negativity real quickly - I love posts about awesomeness, about how kick-ass something is, instead of posts telling me how much something sucked. Standing up and yelling to the world that Alignments suck or that rule Y is "unrealistic" just bores me when instead someone could be talking about how having no alignment system rocks and how alternate to rule Y is awesome. Why bother going on about the negatives when you could invest in the positives?

And that goes doubly for posting about someone else's blogging. Seriously, how on earth is it beneficial to anyone to rant and rave about how you dislike blogger X and blog Y?

Alexis said...

Well Dyson, you had the choice to delete his comment. It's your blog. If you have an ideal for what should exist on your blog, you should take steps.

Being someone who is negative, I'll also point out that when I am, I offer a positive viewpoint at the same time. It isn't necessary to be one or the other - it is possible to be both.

For the record, I am as dissatisfied by something that is all positive, all the time ... it is bloodless and dull.

Things sometimes have to be torn down before you can build.

Dyson Logos said...

That post was a wall of acrimony from me, so I let acrimonious arguments be posted in response (such as the usual "traiter to the OSR" crap I get from Chrome Magnum Man for daring to not hate non-old school games).

Not that I'm a strong believer in free speech on my corner of the internet (after all, it is *my* corner), but I generally accept that if I'm going to post a potentially douchey post, then I should expect some potentially douchey responses.

I guess it came down to in that post is that I don't understand why people feel it is important to tell other people that what they have fun doing is "bad wrong fun". Which has nothing to do with the ensuing arguments in the comments there or here which have gone off on some bizarro tangent of calling people out - the exact thing that I dislike.

Alexis said...

It happens. I don't always feel well about it. Sometimes I'm drawn deeper into it than I like. As any other human, I have my weak moments.

I try, in any case, to judge the whole man, not just the last words he's written. I've tried to do that here. Sometimes I don't feel so noble.

Zzarchov said...

My grandfather once correctly told me "Once you become an adult, there are only two people who can tell you to change who you are: Your boss and your wife, choose both wisely"

I have no idea if that comes from somewhere else.

Dave Cesarano said...

My personal opinion is that a blog is like the blogger's house. They make the rules. Commenting on someone's blog makes you a guest of sorts. If you step out of line or break the rules, you've violated the host's hospitality.

I am also for free speech, but someone's personal blog isn't necessarily there for the free speech of others but of the blogger. Therefore, I pretty-much agree with your handling of this guy.

@Dyson Logos: Criticism is inherently negative, but can also be incredibly instructive. Why would someone need an alternative to rule Y unless rule Y was, itself, flawed? Intelligent, well-reasoned criticism identifies problems and enables improvement. Sometimes it sounds negative, but in reality, it's perfectly neutral. What's negative is the value-assessment being given. A criticism, in-and-of-itself, only has as much value as the reader/recipient/etc. places upon it.

Sometimes, people just want to know your reasons for not liking something, for example, when I asked Alexis why he doesn't like alignments. Perhaps his opinions sound negative. That's great. But simply talking about why playing without alignments is awesome doesn't necessarily elaborate on why alignments are problematic.

Alexis is not the first person I've encountered who does not suffer fools lightly. At least he's upfront with his opinion. I've met plenty of people who will pretend to like you but really think you're a moron. Alexis has the human decency to drill you for your mistakes upfront.

ckutalik said...

"The game is not only pretending to me, it's an authentic presentation of an artistic design, weaved together in a complex and resolutely considered fashion, constructed both from my imagination and from researched sources."

Well said. At the table, my general stance is fairly laid-back and light-hearted, but that doesn't mean I take the whole experience of thinking about the campaign and the game in general without seriousness.

To be even a half-way decent GM you have to draw on any number of arts and disciplines, only someone who runs a crap game can belittle that (don't believe me, then ask the players when they have an honest moment). To be a great GM you need to be constantly growing and digging for new layers in your game.

DRANCE said...

First of all, I'm genuinely flattered to be the subject of a post on this blog. I'm not being sarcastic. I don't have time at the moment to craft the response I'd like to post. I'd like to take time to read this post again, and read comments, then reply in full. I just want one and all to remember to not take my comments out of context. I guess this comment I am writing now is a bit of a placeholder.

Yes, I was angry. But I apologize for the angry stance, the use of base language, etc. But I don’t recant my belief that I think Alexis, and others who engage in what I would consider a negative blogging on the hobby, do themselves a disservice as well as the hobby as a whole. They do themselves disservice by driving away potential readers, and even making loyal readers uncomfortable. I’ve spoken to other bloggers, the ones who like to read Alexis’ words, and they say they love his insight and creativity, but his delivery is often jarring to the point that they often question why they continue to read. I conjecture that it’s because they want to see what inflammatory thing he says next, rather than for his content.

I accept that Alexis' style of blogging involves what I would call bashing...of particular people, RPGs, methods of play, etc. It’s his right to go whatever he wants with his blog. To Alexis and anyone else who reads this blog: if you want to argue with me on my perceptions of Tao of D&D, please do. But I've read time and again here some variety of posts that belittle styles of play, types of RPGs, and just general negativity. This point can of course be argued ad nauseum.

Oh and please, can we take my words at face value? I compared roleplaying to “playing pretend” as a means to illustrate how truly bizarre it seems to me to be so damned serious and “meta” regarding our hobby. I credit roleplaying with many developments in my life: my ability to write creatively, the development of social skills when I was young, and so much more. I just see my current good fortune to have returned to the table-top as a blessing, something I cherish. I want to spend my time, what little free time I have, to actually preparing for games and playing games. I didn’t seek to bash other people’s style of play. My comments have nothing to do with actual play. My comments were directed at discussion of play, metagaming as it were. When someone sits on a proverbial mountaintop and claims to know the best way to do things, or simply comes down on game styles or game system and dissects them mercilessly. At that point, is the game still fun? I guess it depends on the person.

I just see all the time spent by Alexis and others being so negative (in my opinion), that I find myself wondering if their time couldn’t be better spent in actual game play and in actually blogging positive things that add to the community (new magic items, spells, character classes, general theory would be even great). I know Alexis does contribute these sorts of things, but you have to admit that he spends a good amount of time ranting when he might be better served trying to be positive. I could be off base here.

Alexis, I agree that it would be boring to be positive all the time. But there are degrees of being positive and negative. One can insert so much invective into a post that said invective overwhelms the intended message of the post. Take someone like Glenn Beck. I think he often has some profound thoughts and good insights, but he wraps his message in a smarmy tone and so much sarcasm that it’s hard to listen to him. His condescending manner is a detriment to his message, no matter how many good points he makes. Of course, I guess that’s my opinion.

DRANCE said...

Alexis, I really like the depths to which you can craft your arguments. Take how deeply you analyze even the name of my blog, going into its origins, etc. I studied English literature among other things in college, and of course I have some liking for Shakespeare. I thought the title appropriate for the ultimate theme of my blog: the fact that I sought to return to the gaming world after a long absence. And I anticipated some struggle in that attempt! But the struggle is worth it, because of the love for the game that I have never lost.

I envy the amount of time you seem to have to devote to your blog. Either you have limited time and are just more mentally agile than I, and are therefore able to put out your volume of verbiage in a small amount of free time, or your lifestyle provides you with lots of time to devote to your writing. I don’t know. I wish I had the time to put more work into my blog. My personal limitations force me to choose between whether or not I want to write all sorts of musings on the blog, or prepare for and actually play the game. At this point in time, if I have to make a sacrifice, it has to be the blog. I would rather game. And I guess that’s why I just sit back and shake my head when someone takes so much time and effort to vivisect roleplaying in general, and other players or bloggers, to the degree to which you do. But this is just a difference between you and I, and I don’t understand your approach to the hobby but I accept the adage of “to each his own.” But when it comes to how you come across, I just felt a bit put off. I don’t believe you are evil or some nonsense like that. I just wonder at the impetus behind your often-sarcastic stance.

The internet is a wonderful medium, but still limiting in its own way. If I have misinterpreted your intentions, I apologize. This was a rather longer comment than I initially intended. I may write again later just to touch on some finer points, if that’s alright.

Alexis said...

Jeez. Compared to Glenn Beck. Why don't you just compare me to Hitler?

Drance, I can't help you. Between the praise I find myself reading sentence after sentence pressing me to change my behavior that I can only read as "BANG! Get into that round hole, BANG, BANG! Sorry, not you're fault for being square, but BANG! get BANG! into BANG! that BANG! round BANG! hole.

You might need a bigger hammer.

Drance, people do read me because I am a dancing monkey, but there's something more. Something that it is hard to get a finger on. I know what that something is, but I'll avoid saying it. Someone else can fill that in if they like.

It's hard to accept your 'in context' argument since to have a bigger context from the comment you posted elsewhere, I'd need everything you've ever said to fit it in. I really don't care. People who make the 'out of context' argument kind of sound, to me, like people who are unwilling to take responsibility for what they say. That's how it reads.

You made a comment that sounded like something a real douche would say. I pointed out exactly how. If you had any character, the only thing you would have to say in a comment is "Sorry. My error. It won't happen again."

I hear the first bit. A little of the second bit. And nothing at all of the third bit. So you'll do it again. As soon as someone gives - as you'll see it - a reason.

I've been sorry for things I've written, and said so on this blog. Happily, I am rarely sorry for things I've written. I'm not sorry for giving you a reason to act like a douche. I am being, as I've said, me.

Alexis said...

Separating this comment from the other, regarding my lifestyle, and the time I have to write, and to work on D&D.

I compose at a speed of 45 words a minute. Almost as fast as I type. Thus, I write a 900 word article (the approximate average for this blog) in 20 minutes.

You may have noticed two dungeon levels that were posted this week. Both were conceived, designed and posted in a total of 5 working hours each. Note, I said "conceived."

Thursday night I thought, "I should put a dungeon on my blog and on my wiki."

Friday morning I thought of the reason why the dungeon would exist.

For a couple of hours on Friday evening, and a couple of hours on Saturday, I sat down and then started making up rooms and texts as the thoughts occurred to me, just sort of scratching them out as I went. When I was making the cloak room, I had no idea what would be in the next room. When I was making the shafts, I had no idea what would be in the room just beyond them, until I realized the dead guards in the cloak room had to come from somewhere.

When I created the boy in the guard room, I had no idea why he was there ... but I came up with a reason five minutes later, which meant there had to be libraries.

And so on.

I write and create at a blurring speed because I have practiced at it for 30 years. I have always been a procrastinator, so to hit my deadlines in the journalist field I chose I learned to write everything in five minutes. It just works for me.

Sorry if my ability to write a huge amount and write it well gets under your skin. Take 30 years and give it a shot. It's very gratifying.

DRANCE said...

Look, I'm not trying to categorize you, in the end. Perhaps I'm just trying to give you a perspective, my perspective, on how you come across to others, especially me. I'm not sure how you want to take that, you might not care at all. But why write a blog if you don't care to know what others think?

And as I've said, I have talked to other bloggers who have read your stuff, and a good number have expressed many levels of confusion and disdain as it pertains to your delivery. Isn't it good to get another perspective on oneself? Critical or otherwise? You say it would not be a good thing to be positive all the time...doesn't that also pertain to comments on your blog? If all you got was praise, would you become a better blogger? Or at least a more self-aware blogger? Perhaps. But again, I don't seek to change you. Just to give you food for thought.

I know I can't change anyone but myself, Alexis. I am absolutely not even thinking that I could ever change you, and I would never even try. Not at all. I believe in free will. But I also believe we are here to help one another, and sometimes help comes in the form of challenging one another. Something I think you can appreciate.

And I wasn't comparing you directly to Glenn Beck. I just used him as an example of someone who constantly bombards his audience with smarm.

Take my praise as you like. I will tell you it was sincerely meant. And I hope you take my apologies as sincere as well. I do apologize for speaking in anger and the language I used. You can make any assumptions about my character, motives, or future actions as you see fit. I admit I've given you no reason, based on my prior communications with you, to make you believe I am sincere or that I will not at some future time rave against you. Again, apologies.

If you want, please accept these posts as mea culpa. Life is too short, as the cliché goes, and time is too short to use these blogs as a means to snipe at each other. I've done my fair share and then some of sniping, and I don't feel proud of that. We can both hold to our personal styles, beliefs, and approaches, but agree to disagree.

I accept that I have acted like a douche in all aspects of my life. Haven't we all been d-bags to someone? Sometimes it's intentional, and I've engaged in that. But sometimes the vagaries of life cause us to be inadvertent douches. Life is convoluted like that. But again, in this case I let my anger get the best of me. And ironically, I did the same thing I accused you of doing: I let my tone corrupt my message.

I'd like your thoughts on the following posts, if you care to even look:

And it's not in my nature to write short and sweet responses. I think that's something you of all people can relate to. Thanks for the rigorous debate. Happy gaming!

DRANCE said...

Well, again, let me clarify: I never said that your ability to compose what seem to be massive, highly detailed posts in record time "gets under my skin." I distinctly remembering praising you for that ability.

I recently started a new job and am also doing a lot of freelancing. I have children, a wife, a house that needs maintenance. A large extended family to keep up with and also friends I like to see.

I'm not saying you don't have similar commitments. I'm just saying that if you have a similar level of time crunch as I do, even if for different reasons (maybe you don't have kids, etc) then I am impressed with your output.

I've been making my living as a writer of proposal and marketing/PR materials for over 10 years. My freelance involves creating web copy. I love the fact that I make my living with words. I want to write more on the creative end of things. I used to write short stories and such, but now I decided to start using my talents in the RPG realm again...just like I did when I was always the DM when my friends and I were young. Because I loved words, and creation.

I salute a peer, if not my better. Who knows?

Alexis said...

”Look, I'm not trying to categorize you, in the end.”

These are words you’re putting into my mouth. I never mentioned being catogorized. You called me a name. You called me Glenn Beck’s name. The supposed connection is weak, desperate, and completely dismissive of the actual differences in what he says and what I say. The invocation of his name was obviously intended as an insult, and I am not the only person who would think that.

“Perhaps I'm just trying to give you a perspective, my perspective, on how you come across to others, especially me.”

Who asked you for your perspective? I don’t remember asking you for an explanation. You wrote something, I commented on it. End of story. But since this is my blog, and my perspective, I believe the point here waas to try and give YOU a demonstration of YOU come across to others.

“… why write a blog if you don't care to know what others think?”

I care what I think. I care enough to put it down in words. To present a position on something I have opinions on. A blog is not a begging bowl.

“I have talked to other bloggers who have read your stuff, and a good number have expressed many levels of confusion and disdain as it pertains to your delivery.”

Really? So have I. How about that? How is it that these other bloggers are not able to represent themselves? Did they elect you? Was the election announced? Was it part of your agreed mandate, given to you by these other bloggers, to present their arguments as a group? Fine. Here, take this back to your constituents. Tell them to elect someone who can present a position without the need to invoke other persons in order to inflate their own importance.

“Isn't it good to get another perspective on oneself? Critical or otherwise?”

Yes. I think that solicited perspective can a good thing. Not always. One tries to solicit from those one respects.

On the other hand, unsolicited perspective is mostly bullshit.

“You say it would not be a good thing to be positive all the time...doesn't that also pertain to comments on your blog?”

I obviously have no problem handling negative comments. I posted your steaming pile of a comment – which wasn’t even written on this blog - and wrote an entire post about it. But I will pay attention to negative comments as it suits me, and not as it suits the commentor.

“If all you got was praise, would you become a better blogger?”

My being a better blogger has nothing to do with praise or negative comments. It has much to do with effort, ability, practice and having something to say. I could be the same quality of blogger I am right now if you dropped me on a desert planet. Only, no one would know but me.

“Or at least a more self-aware blogger?”

You imply that I become more self-aware through listening to other people. This is irrational.

Whoops, gotta continue this on the next post. Incidentally, Drance, while I am continuing this, I’m pretty much going to delete any further comments you make along this line. Mostly I’m just having fun now, pointing out what a moron you are, and when I’m done I won’t need any more examples.

Alexis said...

Now, where were we?

“I don't seek to change you. Just to give you food for thought.”

Food for thought so that I might, you know, change.

“I know I can't change anyone but myself, Alexis.”

When were you planning to start?

“I am absolutely not even thinking that I could ever change you, and I would never even try.”

Except, of course, for this really long comment (the third of three, mind you) that you’re writing now.

“Not at all. I believe in free will.”

Great. I believe in pizza for breakfast. Just a point though … I never compromised your ‘will’ or anything else about your freedom. I did, however, point out that you were a douche. That is free will too. I mean, my being able to say it. Mostly, the ‘free will’ thing really is a sort of throw away sentence you’re putting in the middle of this long comment which is meant to somehow prove that you’re really a good person, when in fact you’re really kind of a douche.

“But I also believe we are here to help one another, and sometimes help comes in the form of challenging one another.”

Really? Well, I’m not here to help you. I don’t really care what happens to you. I don’t know if I can make that clearer. I don’t know how that affects your belief system. I mean, I don’t know if you can go on believing that we’re here to help each other when I’ve made it as clear as I can that I am not here to help you. But I’m already familiar enough with belief systems to know that facts aren’t relevant.

“Something I think you can appreciate.”

Your thinking needs work.

“And I wasn't comparing you directly to Glenn Beck.”

Then why mention him at all?

“I just used him as an example of someone who constantly bombards his audience with smarm.”

So, you were comparing me then. As an example. Either that, or you were pulling words out of your ass and that’s what you had for dinner last night.

In either case, is the word ‘constantly’ really applicable. Do you know what ‘constantly’ means?

“Take my praise as you like.”
Yes, praise. The praise of not being compared with someone constantly full of smarm. I’m got a pretty good constant flow going on right now. I haven’t had this good a straight man in many a month.

“I will tell you it was sincerely meant.”

Which part? Oh, the praise. Gotcha. I’m kinda assuming here this is all sincere. Hope you can read my answers back likewise.

Alexis said...

And there’s still more …

“And I hope you take my apologies as sincere as well.”

As sincere as context will allow.

“I do apologize for speaking in anger and the language I used.”

Isn’t so much the language, which doesn’t bother a fuckwad like me … it’s the sentiment. Which was what I addressed in the long dissection that is this post. The sentiment that you were kind of a douche. Which you haven’t actually apologized for. See, the thing about apologizing for anger and language is that it fails to take into account YOU. It’s saying, basically, that except for circumstances that you’re not responsible for, you didn’t actually do anything wrong. It is the standard apology politicians give. The apology I’m looking for is, “I was wrong, and I won’t do it again.” I really don’t care if I get it … but the longer it goes that I don’t get it, the less and less respect I actually have for YOU. It isn’t possible for me to have respect for your temper or your vocabulary. Those are just things. And you can apologize for things all day. When you get over apologizing for things, and start apologizing for yourself, you can get started on that change you say you’re the only one that can make.

“You can make any assumptions about my character, motives, or future actions as you see fit.”

I have already. I didn’t know I needed permission.

“I admit I've given you no reason, based on my prior communications with you, to make you believe I am sincere or that I will not at some future time rave against you.”

Since you’ve spent more of this comment talking about me than about yourself, then this is about accurate.

“Again, apologies. If you want, please accept these posts as mea culpa.”

If this is your fault – and believe me, no one reading this blog post ever thought otherwise – then why all this obfuscation? Why couch this statement forty sentences into this reply? No one cares about the rest of this bullshit. You could have saved them a lot of trouble, and me a lot of meanness.

(still having fun … but getting tired; does this comment ever end?)

Alexis said...

Nope, there’s more.

“Life is too short, as the cliché goes, and time is too short to use these blogs as a means to snipe at each other.”

Life is certainly shorter than this comment.

“I've done my fair share and then some of sniping, and I don't feel proud of that.”

You realize you’re saying this to the one person in the D&D blogosphere who assumes if you can’t get dirty, go home? Once again … don’t care about the meanness of your statements. Care about the sentiments. IE., that I should somehow write differently, play the game differently, etc., etc. It’s all in the text up above there.

“We can both hold to our personal styles, beliefs, and approaches, but agree to disagree.”

Actually, don’t need your permission. And it takes two people to ‘agree’ to anything. Three lines ago you were apologizing for – something – and now you’re taking the position that what you said was equal to what I said. How does that work?

“I accept that I have acted like a douche in all aspects of my life.”

Wow. ALL aspects? Like, ALL? You are Glenn Beck, aren’t you? Come on, confess.

“Haven't we all been d-bags to someone?”

I’m being an incredible one right now. Only, I’m not sorry. I don’t really think you are, either. That whole ‘agree to disagree’ thing pretty much proved that.

“Sometimes it's intentional, and I've engaged in that.”

Funny thing is, it’s always intentional. I don’t write things ‘unintentionally.’ I’m not sure how that could happen. I was walking towards the keyboard, tripped, landed on the keys and wrote a gramatically correct comment insulting the hell out of someone? I ought to be in a circus.

Of course, ‘unintentional’ is code for ‘things I don’t take responsibility for.’

But sometimes the vagaries of life cause us to be inadvertent douches.

Now it’s inadvertantly. Which means, basically, I didn’t mean to be a douche, but then when all these words came into my head randomly I wrote them down without thinking.

No doubt some imaginary circumstance could be dreamed up between two people where this was the case. It’s not the case here … but by obfuscating what happened here, the idea is to leave people so bafflegabbed they have no real idea what the hell was written.

This is called ‘politics.’

“Life is convoluted like that.”

No, it’s not life, it’s politics. Life is about having sex.

Oh. I guess politics is too. My bad.

“But again, in this case I let my anger get the best of me.”

Yes, you could blow anytime. You have to be careful.

“And ironically, I did the same thing I accused you of doing: I let my tone corrupt my message.”

Oh, good on you. I’ve been aware from the beginning that this is all going on in your head. It has nothing to do with me at all.

“I'd like your thoughts on the following posts, if you care to even look:”

Oh shit. Homework?

“And it's not in my nature to write short and sweet responses.”


“I think that's something you of all people can relate to.”

I don’t know why. I’m pretty sure the value of writing is not its weight.

“Thanks for the rigorous debate.”

Hopefully, we’ll have one someday. As opposed to this exercise.

DRANCE said...

Heh, I didn't expect anything less than what I've been given here. A thorough dissection of my words and amusing commentary. That's what you do, and you do it well. I will forever be impressed with the sheer amount of subcontext that you infer from people's comments.

Then call this a one-sided truce. The call for peace is from my side. You may do what you want on your side...but by saying that, I've already made you assume that I am trying to do your thinking for you, or that I am giving you permission to do so. Jeez, things get pretty convoluted around here, don't they?

Happy gaming, happy blogging, happy living. Sorry if wishing you happiness in any of these areas gives you any sort of grievance. I think that once you have your mind set on how you will approach a person that has slighted you, there is no getting on your good side once more. I've tried my best. Peace and long life, live long and prosper, may the road rise to meet you, the road goes ever on and on, so long and thanks for the fish, etc. Here's the towel that I'm throwing in! No mas! Hope to talk again soon.

Alexis said...

Actually, no.

When I find someone who repeatedly finds ways to obfuscate truth, I first expose, and then ignore.

Anonymous said...

This is the most fun I've had sitting down with my clothes on all week. Thanks.