Offensitivity – Cedar Sanderson

Offensitivity  – Cedar Sanderson

I started out my research for this post looking for the one right word that summed up what I was going to explain. Surely I remembered that there was a psychological term for the people who get a rush out of attacking other people when instigated and when it could be done at little to no risk of harm to themselves? I asked friends, and we all mulled it over… turns out, no, there isn’t a single word. Although the one that Berkeley Breathed invented back in 1982 or thereabouts works nicely for the topic I was addressing.


I’m talking about the herd mentality, otherwise known as Mob mentality, a phrase first used and described in Mackay’s Memoirs of the Extraordinary Popular Delusions and Madness of Crowds. In this sort of behavior, we see people do things they would never dream of doing to another person on an individual basis. “Groups can generate a sense of emotional excitement, which can lead to the provocation of behaviors that a person would not typically engage in if alone.” Tamara Avant goes on to explain the kinds of people you will find acting in this way, “The greater individuals feel like they identify with a group, the greater the pressures for them to conform and de-individuate become.” And finally, in the list of reasons people begin to herd, we find that they include when “we are surrounded by like-minded people, and/or when emotions are aroused.”

So we find that “As humans, we have instinctual responses that are exacerbated by group influences. What we might not do as individuals we may do as part of a group.  People may lose control of their usual inhibitions, as their mentality becomes that of the group.” In the age of the internet, this may not lead to violence as it did with the witch hunts, but the possibility of shattered lives is still a clear danger, and one that you cannot escape from, seemingly, as internet lynch mobs spring up globally in response to imagined slights.

For that is what I was thinking of when I went looking for the word I wanted. People who hop on a bandwagon because of the mental mechanism that rewards their righteous indignation with a burst of dopamine. It’s addictive, as any athlete will tell you. It’s an all-natural high, a rush, and once you’ve figured out how easy it is to get, you go after more. Humans are clever monkeys in some ways, and in others they never take the time to figure out why they act the way they do.

One of the theories surrounding the actions taken during the Salem Witch Trials sheds some light on the new era of internet mobs, where the ducking and hanging is virtual rather than literal. Dr. Brian Pavlac writes, “Witch accusers acted on a psychological need to blame others for their own personal problems. Drawing on functionalist anthropology, psychology and post-modernist criticism, supporters of this theory argue that witch hunts were therapeutically beneficial for society, since they defined what was right and wrong and rid society of its troublesome marginalized folk, like the old and the poor.”

Feeling some lack in their own lives, then, leads people into following internet trolls. Let’s define a troll, shall we? Psychology Today has this to say: “An Internet troll is someone who comes into a discussion and posts comments designed to upset or disrupt the conversation. Often, in fact, it seems like there is no real purpose behind their comments except to upset everyone else involved. Trolls will lie, exaggerate, and offend to get a response.”  The article goes on to quote from a study performed by Buckels, et. al ” “Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others. Sadists just want to have fun … and the Internet is their playground!”

Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Sadists. Keep that in mind as I explore a couple of recent outbreaks of internet lynch mobs.  These centered around people who were attacked for ‘misconstrued’ words, attacked by people who were seeking to take offense in order to generate controversy and propagate their own causes. Hence I plan to lead off with Tim Hunt and only use Sarah Hoyt as support material, along with Matt Taylor and possibly one or two other cases. In all of those, you have an agent provocateur who was then joined by an internet mob in a witch hunt.

In all of these cases, once the blood was in the water, the mob fell into a predictable feeding frenzy. Due to the mechanism of dopamine release, which then leads from an autonomous bodily function  and that turns the internet mob into unthinking predators seeking instinctively to harm, rather than employing intelligence and reason in assessing the target of their rages. in the case of Tim Hunt, a single tweet, which contained some half-truths mixed with made-up (lies, if that’s not plain enough) statements purporting to be quotes, started the lynch mob on their crusade that would lead to his career being irrevocably destroyed, despite the whole matter having been revealed to be a baseless calumny.

In the excellent Commentary Magazine article which sparked my interest in writing about this messy situation, Jonathan Foreman explains why it didn’t matter that the tweets and initial news reports were revealed to be falsehoods. “That’s because for anyone with an ax to grind about gender equality or sexism in science, this was one of those stories that the tabloids used to label (jestingly for the most part) “too good to check.” For politically committed editors and reporters, a story that is too good to check is one that perfectly confirms their suspicions and prejudices about those they consider the enemy.” If you will recall, one of the motivations of a mob is to react to the arousal of their emotions, and gender equality is a push-button topic in this modern era, whether it is a valid concern in the developed nations, or not. And to bring this back to the title of my post, the people who made it their job to destroy Tim Hunt?

The coup de grâce came in July with Mensch’s release of a short recording from the luncheon. One can clearly hear applause and laughter in the room as Hunt ends his speech. Apparently out of a hundred guests from around the world, most of them women, the only people who were offended by Hunt’s remarks were a handful of British and American science writers, all of whom happen to be diversity obsessives.

Hunt experienced in less than two months’ time something similar to the process of denunciation, destruction, and rehabilitation that the main character in Milan Kundera’s autobiographical novel The Joke (1967) endured over a period of many years. Set in Stalinist Czechoslovakia, The Joke tells the story of Ludvik, a student who sends a jesting postcard to his girlfriend that concludes with the words “Long Live Trotsky.” Ludvik is actually an enthusiastic supporter of the relatively new Communist regime, but that doesn’t prevent him from being denounced, expelled from college, expelled from the Party, and then sent off to a labor battalion. Ludvik is too young and naive to understand that totalitarian systems have very limited tolerance for humor and see it as dangerous and subversive. Perhaps Hunt was too old and naive to realize that the worlds of science, education, and “science journalism” are policed by people who are not exactly totalitarians but whose obsession with “correct” language and thought is incompatible with humor and intellectual freedom.

It is a phenomenon that combines modern ideology with quasi-Victorian notions of “respectable” behavior and feminine fragility. For these witch-hunters, there can be no toleration of “inappropriate” speech by the contemporary equivalent of “Society.” The wrong kind of joke, breed of joke-teller, or even the wrong political opinion, moreover, creates a “hostile environment” that supposedly intimidates the sensitive victim to such a degree that she cannot function on an equal level.

I highly recommend that you read the full article. It is lengthy, but it will serve as an excellent primer on what the internet witch hunts looks like, and how it literally cannot be stopped with the truth. I do like Foreman’s term of Diversity Obsessive, as that is a perfect way to look at what happened to Matt Taylor, who wore a shirt that a rabid feminist objected to. Note that his boss, who was female, and co-workers, many of whom were female, had no problem with a ‘lucky shirt’ he had worn on previous occasions. The reporter who cornered him for an impromptu interview – he was not expecting to be on television that day – had nothing to say about his shirt. Instead, a blogger half a world away took the time to screencap him from a brief video, blow the screenshot up, and proceed to be loudly offended on the internet. Which led to the man being bullied into public tears as he broke down and apologized for the shirt his good friend – also a woman – had made for him.

Because reality does not matter to the internet mob. Case in point, where MR Kowal accused fellow author Sarah Hoyt of using an ethnic slur.The word she said was a slur? ChiCom, a commonly used abbreviation of Chinese Communist. Since ChiCom is used to differentiate between fellow Chinese factions of differing ideology, ethic is more than just a stretch, it’s a flat-out fabrication. When pressed, MR Kowal then insisted that she had found in one source that the term was held to be derogatory. She ignored the multiple other sources that are more reputable, and do not do more than define the term as I have above. Instead, with less academic prowess than a first-year college student, she insisted that her source was the right one, and led a small mob in denouncing the confused Latina lady whose first language was not English, as racist.

I have no real answers for how best to cope if one is confronted by these kinds of witch hunts. It is clear that the de-individuation of the mob leads to a dehumanizing and instinctive reaction, fueled by the dopamine release they find from the arousal of emotions. While confronted individually, the members of the mob would likely be willing to listen to reason, as a herd, they are no longer rational, interested in seeking the truth, or able to be reasoned with. Confrontation with the truth only leads to more accusations, often of unrelated and imagined sins the mob demands expiation for, without ever stopping to explain what would redeem the target individual. Furthermore, the mobs are egged on and ignited by trolls, who feed off the results to satisfy their own sadism. Fueling the mob energizes the troll to new heights as they scent blood in the water.

It is said that an argument on the internet is not for the benefit of either side – the one in the right will never win, and the troll will never admit they were wrong – but for the bystanders. The important distinction then becomes: at what point are you fighting with a foe who is psychopathic, and willing to do literally anything to cause you harm? There is no point in debate with the mentally ill, and they can harm you. Be aware, and be wary. Know that it doesn’t matter what you say, the grievance seekers will find something they can use to gain the attention they so desperately seek.

444 thoughts on “Offensitivity – Cedar Sanderson

      1. WordPress is being wierd

        How could one tell?

        In other breaking news, the Pope is Catholic, Water remains wet and Fire is still hot. Bears scat in the woods but only acapella.

        1. It was a wierdness that was preventing posting, hence the test to see if the oddity had passed. It seemed better than just the ditto by itself. *polishes halo*

          1. Believe me, I share your view. WP has decided I no longer deserve the option of “liking” a post and removed that button from my WP toolbar, whether from over-use or lack of use or just general perversity i don’t know.

            Testing the system while enlisting for comments is quite practical.


  1. “While confronted individually, the members of the mob would likely be willing to listen to reason, as a herd, they are no longer rational, interested in seeking the truth, or able to be reasoned with. ”

    I am reminded of the Tommy Lee Jones line in Men in Black, “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. “

          1. I know, I know. But I’ve just lost my sense of humor about secret government programs, now that most secret government programs are apparently Up to No Good With My Money. I actually spent a lot of time pondering the horror of an Obama version of the Stargate program. Shudder.

            It’s like how it was once kinda funny to have the local SWAT team in my apartment building, since they were essentially doing a drill and since they all knew the guy from high school who had “made threats” in the process of being off his meds; and nobody was hurt, and he got help. But now it’s not nearly as amusing, because a lot of people don’t survive SWAT teams.

            But I don’t want to discourage other people having a sense of humor that is more robust than mine. Indeed, these days we need one more.

            1. I sympathise – The entire nation is really getting nuts – the “Crazy Years” for sure, just a few decades late. Came across this a few moments ago, it may explain some of it.
              View at

                    1. It was somewhat tongue in cheek; however, still much nicer than the coverage many RINO’s are giving. What bothers me so much is how quickly they went to the SJW playbook for attacks on him.

                    2. To be fair, I think Trump is a decoy from the left. Don’t forget, big Hilary Donor and met with WC just before starting his run. So… watch carefully, but don’t swallow his act. Remember Perot. One appears whenever a Clinton is running.

                    3. Perot was a businessman from Texas, when the Clintons still were the Arkie mafia. It is plausible they were able to recruit him by way of contacts in the good ol’ boy network.

                    4. I don’t think Trump’s a decoy. I think he’s been preparing for this for a while. It’s rarely mentioned, but this is Trump’s second run. He made an abortive run for the Reform Party’s nomination in 2000. I suspect that he has been planning a run for the nom in one of the major parties ever since, but didn’t see it as a good option until now (W had a lock in 2004; Dems were going to win in 2008, and Hillary was supposedly inevitable; he mentioned the possibility of running for the Republican nomination in 2012, but Romney was going to be the nominee). This year’s wide open, which means that he has as good of a chance as he’ll ever have.

                  1. No, what explains Trump is Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marko Rubio, Dick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and etc.

                    Bush *is* indistinguishable from a moderate Democrat, and most of the Republican politicians don’t want to piss off the Chamber Of Commerce money.

                    But most of the republican *voters* don’t want to be preached to, or have someone tell them how to live (Huckabee, Santorum). The want their country preserved, not swamped by people who don’t want our culture or our language but *do* want our money.

                    But all of the pols listed (and more) are mealy mouthed and wishywashy. Trump isn’t. His paycheck goes *down* if he gets elected. HIs career isn’t over if he loses, he just goes back to bankrupting his company for the 5th time and picking out his 5th wife.

                    So he says whatever he wants. After all, his goal isn’t to get elected, but to spoil it for all the rest of the republicans.

                    1. Yeah, but in this election even a “moderate democrat” is a far right wing looney in comparison to the candidates in the Democrat field… Most of the field are far from being my first or even fifth choice, but the alternative… ye gods….

                    2. Hey, Dude — it would’ve been cool. Nobody would have held her opinions against you. It’s not like you get to choose your relatives.

                    3. Can I point out to her that we have had a socialist for a President for the last eight years? Now seeing how well that has worked out, why would we want another?

            2. I actually spent a lot of time pondering the horror of an Obama version of the Stargate program.

              What’s to ponder? He’d just send his jaffa out through the chappa’ai to raid other worlds, just like the rest of the goa’uld.

              Vileprogs, kree!

          1. He probably did. But that certainly isn’t the only example in the movie of “the people are too stupid/panicky so keep everything secret” attitudes in the movie. Personally, I still enjoy the heck out of those movies.

          2. There are elements of truth is the statement but like anything, it can be taken too far.

            As for the Men In Black movies, they are playing for laughs something that IMO could be a somewhat serious story.

            IE, assuming that Earth is a regular visiting place (or dumping ground) for alien civilizations that have no interest is open contact, how do Earth governments handle the matter especially when the Earth governments can’t stop it and have reasonable concerns about the alien civilizations would do if the aliens on Earth were attacked by humans.

                  1. “We must not have a mineshaft gap.”
                    After all, we need someplace to dispose of the vileprogs. (joking!)

          3. I know he had experience in politics, and had likely seen mobs in action, The mob mind-meld is feral.

    1. I think it’s one of those paradoxes… a person is smart and people are dumb… this is true. It’s also true that a person is dumb but people are smart. Individuals make stupid choices and sub-efficient decisions and flawed judgments and generally mess up their lives but in the aggregate, not making decisions as a group or mob, but an aggregate of *individual* sub-optimal choices, actually gives the most responsive, fluid, and powerfully effective results. We see this best in a functional market. We hope to see it in a democracy, though politics is doing it’s best to go with the “mob” side of people power instead of the “individual aggregate” side of people power.

      1. people are smart … mobs are dumb

        please ignor the post where I can not spell my own handle, I need more coffee

        1. “The IQ of a mob is the IQ of its dumbest member divided by the number of mobsters.” – Terry Pratchett.

          “Terry Pratchett was an optimist.” – RES

          1. I think it was Eric Frank Russell who proposed that the Mob was a headless monster, with an IQ equal to the highest IQ present, divided by the number of feet.

            1. I have this image of two adolescent male lemmings, one holding a blown-up paper bag in one paw, the other open-palmed a shoulder’s width away … saying: “Watch this!”

              It is probably a good thing I’m not allowed sharp pointy objects unable to draw.

      2. Markets are information processing systems. They rely on rational people as their computational units.

        Mobs are emotion-driven. Rational people cannot exist in a mob.

        1. Kind of like one Illinois Pizza Parlor. Market information logically and rationally decided there was enough demand in the area to support the restaurant. The mob decided otherwise.

          1. For some reason when you speak of Illinois, Pizza Parlors and say, ‘The mob decided otherwise.’ my mind wanders away from more recent news and into a story about enforcers from an organization that does not exist coming in to the restaurant in, say, Chicago to offer the owners protection.

  2. So, if we’re going to be attacked for our words regardless of what we actually say, due to the factors and players mentioned above, sounds like we have a couple of options. 1. Don’t speak. 2. Speak anyway, and accept that some people are going to be offended and consider you the worst person in the world.

    1. Yep, pretty much. If option #2 is chosen, the additional lesson to keep in mind is never back down and never apologize. That only encourages the mob, as in the case of Matt Taylor and Tim Hunt. They might have been better served by saying ‘up yours and go boil your bottoms, you son of a silly person.’

        1. I had a friend who used to clench his fist with the middle finger extended toward the ground. He’d then ask, “Can you hear this? No? Let me turn it up for you.”

          1. I think it was my dad who introduced me to this one:

            Dad: (Holds up four fingers) “You know what this is?”
            Me: “No…”
            Dad: (Switches to holding up middle finger only) “Four of these.”

              1. Or the variant from Stargate SG-1 – “That’s O’Neill, with 2 L’s.” (Holding up 3 fingers)

    2. Option 1 is the one interpreted as “surrender” and therefore is not an option.

      Option 2 is thus the only choice, but must be done with care. Speak clear, and calm and rational – and let the offensivistas do all the tantrum throwing and let the world see it’s them and only them doing the tantrum throwing. Yes, we’re get dirty from all the dirt flying, but an outside observer should have no trouble seeing who is doing all the digging and flinging.

      It is said that when one has dug themselves into a hole, the best thing to do is to stop digging. Since they seem to refuse to do that, can we profit by selling them shovels until they bury themselves?

      1. an outside observer should have no trouble seeing who is doing all the digging and flinging.

        This. This is why mocking them tends to be counterproductive. Always write with the knowledge that outside observers, who have no idea of the background of this fight, are going to be reading it and making up their own minds who’s the sane and rational one here. Make sure they see that it’s you. That’s how you win the war in the long run — by making the other side put their irrationality and childishness on full display for all to see.

      2. It’s also so much FUN to watch them throw tantrums, provided you don’t care a whit about their opinion of you and don’t mind harsh language. They say something about sexist language, you respond calmly, and they go off calling you “dick” and “jerkoff” and other gendered insults. You ignore most of their noise, point that out, and they go even crazier. If you can’t get them to act in a way that’s overtly sexist, racist, and completely in contravention of any principle they’ve just espoused, you’re probably not even trying.

      1. IMO “Mockery” is “Hate” and the Kickers would take it that way.

        Of course, when they do it, it’s not “Real Hate”.

          1. The key is the tone, which is difficult in text. Authorial voice is essenntial. I like to keep things very stream of consciousness (it’s my inherited Portuegese ancestry showing through, I expect) and include references that most people (not just most people I know) tend to find humorous.

    3. One of my favorite quotes (probably a paraphrase as I don’t have it handy): “Live your life so that you are not ashamed of what anyone says about you, even if it’s not true.” – Richard Bach, Illusions.

  3. Quoted: The wrong kind of joke, breed of joke-teller, or even the wrong political opinion, moreover, creates a “hostile environment” that supposedly intimidates the sensitive victim to such a degree that she cannot function on an equal level.

    When the arguments centered on the idea that women were capable of more than past conditions and traditions allowed I understood and embraced it. Women had long since demonstrated that they were tough and smart enough to work in the ‘real’ world. They might not have the brute body strength for some tasks, but not all men did either.

    Where is the logic in the position that women are fully capable and equal, but at the same time they need to be provided with a number of allowances, extra supports and a very special environment so they can be equal?

    I suspect that if somebody had told that to a woman ambulance driver from WWI or a Rosie the Riveter they would have received a horse laugh.

    1. It’s a holdover from the (largely mythical) days where women were subject to deliberate campaigns of harassment aimed at driving them out of a workplace. It ignores the fact that the best way to handle such abuse is they way Jackie Robinson did it: acknowledge it but refuse to be governed by it, eventually the abusers go too far and the vast bulk who don’t feely strongly on the issue turn against them. It is somewhat ironic that the tactics and techniques used by bigots in the past to drive minorities out are currently being used by SJW’s against those who question their agenda.

      1. It is somewhat ironic that the tactics and techniques used by bigots in the past to drive minorities out are currently being used by SJW’s against those who question their agenda.

        Not ironic at all — the ideology of those who used it then and use it now is essentially the same, and their goals are only superficially different.

        It is still an entrenching tool for those in power.

    2. This is why I tend to cringe when I see billboards extolling the wonders of females breaking barriers…to firefighting, among other things. As a male who cannot join the armed forces due to tendon issues (and now migraines), who cannot become a fire fighter due to being pudgy, somewhat small, and quite weak, I dislike it when barriers are broken in ways that would allow me to participate in these things now, if they were applied to me…and these barriers are broken, just so that women can join in the “fun”. (I put “fun” in quotes, because it’s hard and dangerous work…yet women seem attracted to these things because it’s also heroic work. Perhaps it’s there and I don’t just see it, but I don’t see feminists clamoring to be plumbers, or construction workers, or fishermen…dirty and often dangerous work…which also happens to be the reason that for every woman killed on the job, there’s something like nine men killed…which, incidentally, is a statistic often ignored in the “wage gap” debates…)

      1. As a parent with one son who is a paramedic/firefighter, it disgusts me to see the double standard applied to women who want to be firefighters. We learned a lot when he was going through the academy. Men firefighters have several tasks they HAVE to do to pass. One is they have to carry a 180 lb dummy down 6 flights of stairs using the fireman carry. Women can drag the dummy down the stairs by the feet. When I hear someone extolling female firefighters, I let them know this simple fact by asking how they’d like to be carried out a burning building, either on the shoulders of a man, or get drug down one step at a time with their head smacking each step….

        The second is to hold onto a 3″ hose spurting water at 60-100 psi, and also to get control of a loose hose doing the same. Third is putting a 50 ft extension ladder to an upper story window.

        it’s no secret that firemen are generally average the strongest men you’ll find in any profession. My son has guns that make mine look small…..

        1. Regarding dragging the 180-pound dummy instead of carrying it:
          One time, after a round of standards being lowered, Gloria Allwet … er … AllRED was confronted on that issue. She said being dragged was better because the cleanest air in a burning building is down at floor level.

          1. Then let her be dragged slowly down 6 flights of stairs concussing what few of her brain cells are still working……

      2. There are a few women going for the unglamorous professions. My husband’s a mason. The person he goes to when he needs another mason for a job with his company is female. Why? Because she’s good and can do the job. (Actually has a knack for it, especially the more complicated/artistic side of the masonry.)

        I’m all for women doing anything they can meet the standards for. But I’m dead set against the standard’s changing. If the man has to carry a 180lb dummy (as mentioned in the firefighting tests) so should any woman trying to be a firefighter. There are women who can do it. (I used to be able to do it myself.)

        1. Truth be told, I know lots of women who have carried 180-lb dummies. Of course, at the time, the dummies were eight pounds or less, and under a foot in length.

          1. When I processed through AF basic training, back in the day, one of the tests was to see if you could lift a certain weight over your head – IIRC it was 200lbs, although it might have been 150lbs; Testing thingy was a set of weights and pullies attached to a handle bar; if you could lift the handle bar from about your knees to over your head, there were a couple of jobs you were qualified for. Two of the girls out of fifty in my flight could do it. One had lifted weights as an athlete, and the other had worked in a nursing home.

        2. I’m all for women doing anything they can meet the standards for. But I’m dead set against the standard’s changing.


  4. I have no real answers for how best to cope if one is confronted by these kinds of witch hunts.

    A hearty F$@k You accompanied by both middle fingers and a complete utter refusal to apologize.

    1. Also, mock them with truth and laugh at them at every opportunity. As the article pointed out, totalitarians have a low tolerance for humor.

        1. It just struck me that one could hold up a thumb and say, “I’m Jack Horner; sit on my thumb and I’ll pull out your plum.”

    2. When they start to claim how vastly more intelligent and better educated they are then you, I’ve found that some variation of, “And yet that’s the best insult you can come up with?” tends to stop them dead in their tracks. Or at least sputtering incoherently for a few moments.

  5. When pressed, MR Kowal then insisted that she had found in one source that the term was held to be derogatory.

    As a square is a rectangle, but not all rectangles are squares: so a racist remark is derogatory, but not all derogatory remarks are racist.

    But such facts, as has been observed, do not matter once a target has been engaged by those carefully nursing their cases of offensitivity who have entered into the stampede mode.

  6. I have no real answers for how best to cope if one is confronted by these kinds of witch hunts.

    Perhaps the Evil Lord Of Evil’s new book that just release:

    SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police


    Social Justice Warriors have plagued mankind for more than 150 years, but only in the last 30 years has their ideology become dominant in the West. Having invaded one institution of the cultural high ground after another, from corporations and churches to video games and government, there is nowhere that remains entirely free of their intolerant thought and speech policing.

    1. Mr. Beale is wrong about that, of course.

      SJWs do not lie. A lie is a deliberate untruth, told with the intention to deceive. Since SJ ideology does not include the concept ‘truth’, goodthinkful duckspeakers cannot deliberately refrain from telling it.

      What SJWs do is repeat the talking points from the echo chamber, whether they have any bearing on the situation or not. Since the talking points come straight from the ideology, and the ideology is looney-tunes ab initio, nothing they say ever bears more than a chance resemblance to reality, and usually far less.

      1. I tend to call them parrots or drones. Many are not really thinking about what they write/type, they are indeed mindlessly repeating the Narrative.

  7. I think that there is a business opportunity awaiting a good lawyer; suing companies or organizations that fire people based on an internet meme. The people who removed Tim Hunt from the places he worked or the organizations he was part of need to hurt, hurt badly. They need to lose their homes, life savings and options of retirement.

    There are lots of idiots, and even more idiots who will follow the first one. This is a long known human characteristic, and every institution of any kind in an sphere of life has built in safeguards against the short term frenzy of a crowd. People running these organizations who ignore the safeguards need to be removed and humiliated.

    And by the way, that is what was so threatening about Sad Puppies III. Books, real books that were read and enjoyed were nominated. This is a life altering threat to those who will not accept the presence of that type of people. So the response was to get a bigger mob, even more purposeful and unified and utterly stupid.

    1. I like that thought – although it would be encouraging a certain kind of ambulance-chaser. Still, it would do good for people who are victimized by an internet mob and have a weak-kneed employer, like that poor woman in McKinney who got involved, inadvertently in the swimming-pool fracas? She was named and shamed for coming to the aid of a friend, and for that, she got fired by her employer, who IIRC was a subcontractor for Bank of America. I think she got Gloria Allred to bring suit against her former employer, but I don’t think anything has come of that. Or at least, I haven’t read anything about it.

    2. I’m with Derek. The lies affected Tim’s career and can be shown to be lies. He has a case for libel.

    3. yes Derek … force (applied in a legal manner ) is the only thing that these people understand! rather than one lawyer, perhaps an organization? a non-profit? would pay for it self over time. and perhaps place some of these people in prison. (it is not only slander/libel it is in some cases insiting to riot)

  8. I prefer the RP reply as recommended by the Overlord of Evil, VD, to wit: “I. DON’T. CARE. Followed by the ever perfect(at least in these cases) a hearty F. U.

    1. Variant options:
      (Sniffing the air) Did you just cut the cheese?
      Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.
      Who, are you, that I ought care?
      So what?
      or go full Breitbart: So?

    2. Some years ago I realized that a lot of the world’s ills were Not My Problem. I’ve also accepted Vox Day’s rallying cry of “I Don’t Care.”

      Between the two, I’m a lot happier person…

      1. Long ago I realized all the problems of the world divided into two categories: My Problems and Other Peoples’ Problems.

        The secret of happiness is not conflating the two. I can be sympathetic toward OPP but can really only treat MP (and durn few of those.)

        1. The “fun and games” is that the Other People work at becoming “My Problem”. [Frown]

          1. Your problem is that other people work at becoming your problem. That does not make their problems yours nor does it mean that resolving their problems will solve your problem (quite the opposite.)

          2. I used to tell junior sailors “If you have a problem, I have a problem. Now, your problem isn’t my problem; my problem is that I have a sailor with a problem. But I can’t solve my problem unless I know about your problem.”

    3. VD kind of reminds me of Hunter S. Thompson, had Nixon spent a whole State of the Union speech denouncing him and his writings

  9. I apologized to the CHORFs once. Never again. Now my response varies from, “grow a backbone/pair of balls/both and then get back to me with that,” to, “buy a cactus and a bottle sriracha sauce, open the bottle and pour it all over the cactus, then take the whole thing and insert it forcefully into your rectum.”

    1. Takes too long to say. for me. My version would be, “Screw you with a cactus covered in sriracha sauce”.

      1. Fair enough, but saying the long version helps me to keep my cool, and watching the CHORFs’ faces when they change from from smug eagerness to confusion to (usually delayed) outrage never fails to be amusing.

      2. My sainted (?) mother’s choice was always “Thank you for your opinion. Please insert it into the orifice of your choice.”

      1. In all seriousness, though, there’s something to be said for wrestling with a pig (or a whole mob of them, for that matter). There’s also that Mark Twain quote about never arguing with an idiot, because the people watching might not be able to tell the difference.

        1. I really should build a text expander shortcut for this…

          To be ignorant and simple now –not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground –would be to throw down our weapons, and the betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered. The cool intellect must work not only against cool intellect on the other side, but against the muddy heathen mysticisms which deny intellect altogether.

          – C. S. Lewis

    1. Or gather your *army*.

      In one of Eric Flint’s stories he pitted a mob with a trained forces (using quarterstaffs). The mob lost.

    2. My thought was “man the battlements.” (Man used in the traditional English sense of “human being.” No sexist slur intended, unless you’re such a Neanderthal cretin that you actually take offense at language. In which case . . . middle finger. And yes, I meant to be derogatory, just there.)

        1. You callin’ me a homo? That what you callin’ me? Well sapiens THIS! (makes rude gesture)
          (laughs hysterically when contemplating the genus part of the scientific name for human beings)

      1. Considering I have a higher Neanderthal genetic material than most people… lol be kind. I don’t have a problem with “man the battlements.” Man also means a group of people.

                1. My Family was on one of those bus tours of the British Isles. When we arrived in Edinburgh, our Hotel was on Princes Street just across from the park, so kind of a busy high pedestrian area. I was stunned by the number (and percentage) of redheads that came walking by.

              1. My DNA includes HLA-B27, which is Neanderthal. The last application I filled out ALMOST had Neanderthal entered in the block labeled ‘Race.’
                And I will NOT check the comments block. Frankly, I wonder how you people that DO check the comments block get anything else done.

                1. Well, a couple of points on comment notifications:

                  1) If you use gmail, it turns multiple emails about the same thread into one long email thread, up to 100 comments per gmail thread.
                  2) I tend to skim until I see something interesting, then read in detail. Of course, that particular tendency doesn’t really save me much time…

            1. Trigger warning; “make sure you got the crosshairs right where you want ’em, before you touch the trigger, she’s a hair trigger.”

        1. Or you could be putting an Isle on the battlements.

          As an aside, the Isle of Man is one of the few places over yonder I think I could live in for a time.

      2. Something I saw several times while in the Navy was a sign on the order of:

        If “to man” a piece of equipment means to have a person attending to it, does “to monitor” a piece of equipment mean to have it attended to by a lizard?

  10. If I was Tim Hunt, this is what I would have done. Instead of an emotional interview, something simple like this:

    “These organizations that I belonged to as a result of my life work are better than this. I’m starting with that assumption, and if I’m proven wrong they deserve to cease to exists.

    So I am suing these organizations for defamation of character.

    I intend to have the life savings of the individuals involved taken and put into my life savings, with a generous portion used to enrich my legal counsel.

    I will not accept an apology; anyone in a position of power or influence that responds to the demands of a mob is not to be trusted. The removal of those individuals who acted or counselled action from the positions in these organizations will be considered a starting point from which I would consider a settlement.

    The people who responded in haste to an internet meme should be ashamed of themselves and my respect for them would increase if they tendered their resignation. They have shown themselves incapable and unworthy of their position, their judgement has been severely lacking and their trustworthyness is open to serious question.”

    My first inclination would be to find a steel rod and start breaking knees, but I think this would be better in the long run.

  11. A technique that can work but is not for the faint of heart is “attack into the ambush”. For example, in Shirtstorm the first response should have been something along the lines of “I can’t believe a woman is complaining about pictures of strong, capable women with weapons kicking ass and taking names. It just doesn’t make sense. Why would anybody but a misogynist find that offensive?” and then keep piling on, using the SJW’s own tropes to smack them around. Never apologize or show any sign the accuser is right about anything, including the time of day. Mock and point fingers. Also, don’t give the accuser validity by addressing them directly. As has been pointed out above, you aren’t going to convince the witch hunters. You are aiming for the people in the crowd who might be convinced the witch hunters are ridiculous.

    1. Hence why I am speculating that Kowal is choosing to act stupid.

      Kowal is a Polish surname, old jokes about Poles assumed they were stupid, and her use of it in her handle is a dogwhistle so that people know that her public behavior is an offensive and degrading statement about Poles. Making such a deal about having Robinette in the middle of Mary Kowal is a distraction, so she has plausible deniability with the vast majority of people who are not bigoted against Poles.

    2. In furtherance of that strategy, isolate each image from the pattern and write a short explanation of how they are being strong, empowered women, and asking why this is a problem?

  12. I think perhaps the best response is:
    Get a life.
    No apology, and don’t reason with them, as they are incapable of reason. Taunts, should be avoided as well. This is based on Cedar’s observation that the emotions fuel their dopamine addiction. Mocking is fine, as long as it isn’t too inflammatory (indignation would fuel their emotional need) and care must be taken to give the Trolls no ammunition to fire. Since the Trolls are sadists, the best thing to do is simply block them.

    1. On one of my stints of jury duty, I was part of a group watching someone throw a tantrum over some inconsequential matter. My comment to the rest of the group was, “I’m pro-life. I believe everyone should get one.”
      This was greeted by laughter from the rest of the group.

  13. The first rule of dealing with an internet mob is: do not flee. Confront them and refusing to cede their dominance over arbitrary moral authority.

    Fleeing only incites them, confirming their presumption of authority and rewarding it. Standing your ground (and calling in your own mob) denies them their desired response.

    It is also best to individualize the participants, breaking apart the mob mentality. How many times in westerns have we seen this demonstrated by a Marshall calling out individual members of the mob to assure them they will not survive? There is no equivalent to a shotgun on internet, but that doesn’t mean we cannot adapt the tactic.

    Mockery often works against such tactics, one reason totalitarians detest humour. It is harder to charge a giant when you perceive yourself Sancho Panza and the foe a windmill.

    And of course, as with all bullying, kowtowing merely invites additional abuse. Unless you join the crowd (a ploy unlikely to succeed) you assure yourself of being “the Jew” next time they get they urge for a pogrom. The madness of such crowds is always temporary and endurable, they’ve little real capacity for doing you harm (a point which should always be made when facing them down — part of their frisson in forming a mob is its illusion of power) and will tend to dissipate when their desired response is not received.

    1. This is true. All this stuff takes place on Internet time, and people tend to forget quickly. If your job isn’t threatened, the best defense may be just staying off the Internet (or having a friend monitor stuff for you).

      OTOH, being off the Internet didn’t help the lady who lost her job by the time she got off her flight. Employers sometimes do not just ignore stupidity and let it pass by.

        1. It usually depends on who perpetrated the stupidity and whether he was wearing a shirt with scantily-clad babes riding rocket ships.

    2. My favorite “marshal vs the mob” scene was pretty much the only non-preachy moment in–believe it or not–BILLY JACK.

      The evil bigots had just demonstrated that even a super-kick-ass could be swarmed (amazing in itself, in a “modern” movie), and they were all standing around doing for real what those L.A. cops were allegedly doing to Rodney King when the sheriff showed up. And he just walked around the circle making light conversation with each one in turn. “Mornin’ Virge. Wife over that cold yet?”

      And when he was done, and all those normally decent men were standing there with sticks dangling from their hands, thoroughly ashamed of what he’d seen them doing, he said, “I think we’re about done here. Don’t you?”

      And they were. At least til the writers were ready to preach again.

      1. A lot of that came from Tom Laughlin, who couldn’t decide if he wanted to be an actor or a political activist.

        Part of Laughlin’s problem was that he was successful enough to promote his ideology, but not successful enough to ram it down the throats of people who were too stupid to recognize his obvious Rightness. And after a while both Hollywood and the activist community tuned him out.

        1. Yeah, The Trial of Billy Jack was overlong, bloated and preachy, but it was successful because it caught the firebrand revolutionary zeitgeist of the early ’70s (yes, I know, not everybody shared it). When he tried it again in Billy Jack Goes To Washington, the mood of the movie-going public had shifted. It was the age of Rocky and Jaws and soon Star Wars. Billy Jack didn’t stand a chance.

      2. Facing a mob?

        Frustratingly — the subtitles are running well after the line.

        In which Scout forces the mob to see themselves as individual humans again.

  14. One point of contention: Mrs. Hoyt wasn’t confused and she knows the language as well as most native speakers. She simply used the correct term, and there’s nothing to defend or apologize about. Kowal and Chu were following the age-old strategy of derailing rather than engaging her points.

    1. As well??? She is ESL. She knows it better than most native speakers because she studied it. (Have you spoken with a typical native speaker of English recently (Huns are not typical.)?)

      1. Sarah has been speaking English for, what, thirty years? I sold my first book when I was 28, and I started off mostly sitting there and drooling; Sarah already had at least a working knowledge of one language to start with. She’s also sold 20-odd books compared to my two.

        Any “English Second Language” claims, for or against her, are meaningless.

      2. Like, I don’t know why you need so many different words for the same thing and stuff, you know?

            1. Since the number of speakers of American English out-number the number of speakers of British English, it could be argued that Americans speak English and the British speak British. [Evil Grin]

              Note, it’s sometimes fun to read Chris Nuttall’s stories and spot where his American characters are speaking British English. [Smile]

              1. Yes, it took me a little while to figure out what was wrong with some of the characters voices. To be fair, at the time I didn’t realize Chris wasn’t American, or I would have figured it out faster. Once I realized what was wrong, I went and read the authors bio. 🙂

              2. Harry Potter has some interesting translations, and failures. Like Crookshanks staying a ginger cat, instead of becoming an orange marmalade one.

                The prize has to be the passage where Professor McGonagall offers Harry a biscuit from a tin of cookies. . . .

  15. Side note, since Kowal is a member of the designated race-in-power, is she guilty of flat out racism while Mrs. Hoyt is merely guilty of prejudice (at least by their standards)?

    1. Always appropriate to acknowledge their superior familiarity with ethnic slurs. When possible, draw them out in explanation about how a particular slur actually is ethnic; they will often provide ample crap for hurling back.

      I am reminded of reading a column by an SJW enumerating the ethnic and racial slurs she taught her kids to avoid and having the thought: wow — I never knew there were so many!

    1. I see no gain by going out of the way to offend, but on the other hoof, there is no reason at all to go out of the way to attempt to be inoffensive by someone else’s (always shifting) definition.

      Or, let them move their goalposts and whine about it, meanwhile we’ll play Calvinball and have fun.

      1. What I’ve seen happening is that people who would never dream of offending, who would go into weeks of anguish over a misunderstanding, who tried and CARED… have been pushed to a point where they don’t care anymore. The accusations are made in bad faith. You can’t possibly avoid them as they have next to nothing to do with you and everything to do with someone else seeing the opportunity to score a political point. Denials are seen as proof of guilt. Further explanations are seen as even more proof of guilt. The only sane response is to tell them where to shove it. Which is also seen as proof of guilt.

        If you’re going to be condemned in any case, do it without the bother of the weeks of anguish.

        The alternative is to be one of those poor PTSD suffering souls still trying to please the Thought Police but having no way to tell what they’ll get attacked for next, that Mixon mentioned in her Hugo Award winning article.

        1. After listening to Ms. Mixon’s speech, I wanted to attach a sig to the end of all my posts.


          Because having that at the end of every post is at least as relevant as some pasty white wannabe writer gratuitously adding BlackLivesMatter to the end of an acceptance speech for a non-racial award.

            1. I’m emotionally drawn to hardline enforcement schemes of the sort that your average cop would have reservations about.

              Even I recognize that there are legitimate grounds to criticize the status quo, and to wish we could all sit down, analyze things, and figure out some way to reform this awful mess.

              #BlackLivesMatter is a pointless as far as real reform goes. Cops and the legal system can only really be convinced to care about all lives. Telling cops they should care about a subset is like having them deal mostly with horrible people. It tends to make them only care about family and other cops, because everyone else seems stupid, evil, and self destructive. #BlackLivesMatter has the same effect as chanting HoRaWa over and over again.

              1. If Black Lives mattered they’d demand something be done about Black on Black crime — far more Black Lives are lost because of Black Criminals than White Cops.

                1. Claiming that this is the result of tension between enforcement and civil rights is a false dichotomy. The criminals that do most of the killing are anointed as the fountainhead of authenticity, and the incarnation of civil rights. The people doing this are driven by a combination of ivory tower, the desire to see the status quo become a bloody mess, and delusional thinking about the white supremacist menace.

                  Things are so covered in donkey shit that few can see enough to figure out the problem. The piles are so large that many can not see much of the sky.

          1. I think that is not as effective a way to show what they are doing.

            Alternative one is #AllLivesMatter. Point out that cops are pushed towards cynicism by their experiences. Argue that forcing a racist agenda on them will not help them care about the lives of people who are killing themselves by inches.

            Alternative two is #BocheLivesMatter. Dig out the history books, find incidents where Germans are killed, and tweet a whine about them. For example, referring to men executed at after Nuremberg as boys, and providing a carefully skewed context. Skip things like Soviet atrocities or ancient wars. You want something that an informed person might see as righteous or defensible, and an ignorant person cannot tell from Martin, Brown or Gray.

            You cannot convince the SJW, your audience is the undecided. One option is a straight counterargument, another is silly and self impeaching, but relies on the same fallacy that the matching SJW argument exploits.

  16. Reblogged this on Cyn Bagley's Shadowland and commented:
    Mob mentality, trolls, and witch hunts — they seem to be happening a lot more often in our modern society than I remember. The internet seems to have allowed the door to our darkest selves out… because we think we are anonymous.

      1. I am old enough to have been around when the internet was opened to the public. I saw that a lot of people liked to try out personas. You may claim your words, but there are a lot of people out there who don’t.

        1. In my case, it is probably from reading too much Heinlein. Be proud of what you say and own up to saying it.
          On the other hand, back in the CompuServe days, I did play with a handle for a while, but found it much easier to notice comments made to you when they called you by your name.
          For some of you, your livelihood/employment might be attacked by SJWs, so not anonymity, but psuedomity is required. Like RequiresHate; would have been really bad to know this vicious little b*tch was wife of the SFWA president.

          1. psuedonymity… different than anonymity imho. 😉 But, in my case, I own up to my words and actions because I lived in a family who didn’t and saw the consequences. So it is ingrained into me.

              1. My computers insist on randomly (it seems) deciding to use my pseudonym or my Facebook real-me. Sometimes I’m Synova, but I’ve been her for 20 years and value the reputation that name has earned.

          2. Requires Hate isn’t married to the former SFWA president. That’s Laura Mixon who wrote the expose.

        2. One of the reasons I have the name anyone who knows me knows me by as my handle these days is in an argument some sod mentioned it was easy to be brave while anonymous, and hiding behind a pseudonym so I posted my full name, and the town I was in at the time and dared the twit to do the same.

  17. If the fact of offense is determined not by the offender’s intent but by the party claiming offense — a not unreasonable position, albeit one taken to unreasonable extent by the fauxtraged — we have now agreed that mens rea is irrelevant. That opens wide paths of attack into the soft underbelly of SJW defenses.

    Combine that with their constant micro-aggressions against non-native Americans (they must be anti-immigrant, non?), their othering and their denial of agency and we have a petard with which to hoist them.

    1. This works, except that (for instance) I, as a “white male”, because of my chromosomal makeup and relative lack of skin melanin, am not allowed (so the SJW theory goes) to take offense at any utterance made by any person referring or characterizing me, in any way whatsoever. I can however gain “indulgences” by making offerings to the SJW religion by joining into lynch mobs of targets chosen by others.

      Now, there’s something about this system that just seems a bit out of whack to me. I can’t quite put my finger on it . . .

      1. Do you identify* as white male, or are they not simply imposing their perceptions upon you, exercising their privilege** to deny your humanity, making you a target for their own unresolved oedipal (electral, PTTT*** or other unresolved childhood horror.)

        *for purposes of this conversation; identity is fluid and may be changed as necessary

        **privilege is assumption of the power to define others, right?

        ***Post Toilet Training Trauma

          1. RES is just a wee bit too good with slinging that jargon around. Like he’s been caught in the Chapel Hill sensitivity vortex or something.

              1. Right, though they will more often be called f***ing coast-haoles. or coast-haole assholes by the locals or kamaina assholes. Also, It’s Hawaii, the Hawai’i thing is PC bullshit no matter what the “kanakamaole” (local assholes) say. There was no written Hawaiian language until the f***ing haoles gave them one.

      2. This is why Sarah can’t take offense to anything the SWJs say. She is, after all, a white Mormon male who hates gays so much that she’ll put them in her books as sympathetic main characters. After all, who wants to be a sympathetic main character in a book written by white Mormon males?

        1. Yeah but she didn’t apply to the right authorities to approve her attempts at representation.

          1. Nod, if Sarah had applied to the right authorities to approve her attempts at representation, she would have been told that she didn’t use the “proper model” for those Protected Types. [Evil Grin]

            1. We’ve seen the same thing in games, no? Someone has to be the clearinghouse for representation. Usually self-appointed and in charge of an internet mob. If someone doesn’t kiss that hem then fault will be found *even* with their attempts to follow a SJW agenda. They. Will. Do. It. Wrong. And the mob will be sent after them. (And Laura Mixon will write an expose.)

              Those approved, who have kissed that hem, can produce work very similar to that which was disapproved and be praised because it’s about the *process*.

        2. That’s not “sympathetic main characters.” That’s outright cultural appropriation and exploitation!

          “Heads I win, tails you lose…”

        3. And to really twist their guts, she’ll track down their parents and relations and get them on the Mormon register.

  18. While I have no sympathy for them, I wonder of the mob action isn’t an attempt by the individuals to deal with anxieties they have over other issues. That rush of power must help them feel in control…

    1. This certainly suggests a line of response: “So, sales drooping again, Mary? Trying to stir up some attention? (Sniff) Is that the stench of desperation emanating from your Twitter feed?”

          1. This is why we must go to the stars: to seek out new frontiers and even smaller violins. 🙂

          1. Bless their hearts, I can’t imagine why they’re having such a time of it. *flutters funeral parlor fan, reaches for glass of sweet tea as porch swing rocks*

  19. A suggestion for dealing with Internet mobs that do real damage:

    1) Pick some damaging posts
    2) Find the IP address they were posted from (may require a supoena).
    3) If the owner of that IP address is a corporation, send them a letter (via attorney) stating that they are about to be sued for libel for the full amount of the damage done unless they dissasociate themselves from the individual that posted.
    4) Make sure that the entire mob knows that this person was fired for being a member of the mob.

    This is not simple and should probably not be used unless real damage is done (firing, swatting, etc.) but is the closest that I can think of of the remedy for mobs of making sure that each individual knows that if they continue they personally will not survive.

    1. I don’t know if return mobbing is a good plan.

      I realize you’re not suggesting that but are suggesting actual legal action for provable libel directed at more or less random individual members of the mob who are guilty of it. If legal action is possible it might be a good warning signal to the pilers on who blindly follow some mob leader and take their word for whatever happened. They might feel immune as part of a larger group, but their actions are still their own.

      But human nature is human nature and “I’m going to do battle on the behalf of my friend!” results in a lot of poor judgement. No one should feel immune to that particular siren call.

      1. Legal action doesn’t have to succeed to cause them much trouble. And discovery is a beautiful thing, win or lose.

      1. Those are the provocatures, not the front line mob members. The idea is to target enough mob members and publicize it that being in a mob becomes unattractive. Other means will have to be used for those that create the mobs.

    2. Didn’t your momma tell you that two wrongs don’t make a right?

      As believers in freedom many here do not mind if someone holds opinions different from the ones we hold. What raises our hackles is when someone insists that we (or others) should not be free to hold and discuss our own opinions.*

      The individuals involved in this round of storms will blown themselves out on their own, leaving behind some level of destruction. Then new ones will arise. So history teaches us.

      What we need to do is put our energies into building and maintaining a good strong foundation. Freedom is always one generation away from being lost.

      *Opinions and their expression are free; actions may be restricted. (OK, so SCOTUS has identified some actions as speech, which muddies the waters…)

  20. I had plenty of early training in this. After you have tried once, twice, three times to explain, and people ignore your explanations, it’s time to consider that their ignorance is wilful. When anything you say is twisted beyond reason and used against you, you are no longer having a civil conversation: you are dealing with an enemy.
    The most effective response I have found is to disengage. Shut up. Walk away. Leave them alone. Don’t waste time or energy trying to get the wilfully blind and deaf to see or hear, reason with the unreasonable, or persuade the unpersuadable. Do not feed the trolls.
    In my personal experience, attempting to return fire, mockery for mockery, insult for insult, and ridicule for ridicule is ineffective, and only makes matters worse. It only disengages their reason further, (as well as your own), gives them ammunition to throw back at you, and convinces the bystanding crowd that you are no better than they.

    1. Without at least a little bit of pointing and laughing, however, bystanders can get the idea that absurd claims are taken seriously… Such as the renewed fashion for facial hair being racist oppression.

      1. I’ve been wearing a beard since the early ’80s. Not because it looks very good, but because I hate to shave. And I have five o’clock shadow by noon…

        Some years ago I was undergoing “employee orientation” at an organization that was very in-your-face about how Christian they were. The (female) instructor got off onto the evils of facial hair for a while, despite having a rather noticeable moustache of her own.

        When she slowed for a moment, I interjected “You know that facial hair thing? GOD put it there.”

        She got flustered and dropped the subject. Though I’m sure she ramped up on the next batch of victims…

          1. LOL! I sometimes misread TXRed or TRX as the other, but I usually unscramble it when the cognitive dissonance of the combination of the (mis)perceived handle and the comment content make my brain go “WTF?!?”

          2. *grooms whiskers* I never have a five-o’clock shadow. And the rumor that I have suffered from hairballs is a vile impugnment of my grooming habits.

        1. In the very late 1960’s my father (and mother) were at some gathering and someone asked him, because of the nature of the times and my father’s beard, “What are you protesting?”

          His response brought the house down and left the asker quite flustered, “Razor blades.”

        2. Evils of facial hair? I could understand that in a food prep job, but not in a “Christianity” context. I happen to be Christian, and while I have no means have the Bible memorized, I certainly don’t remember any passages in it about the evils of facial hair.

          Did she happen to have full length hair, or had she had it cut? If it was cut I would have pointed out the passages about a woman’s hair being her glory, and ask her why she had shorn it. Some sects (not myself) interpret Corinthians 11:15 and a couple of similar verses to mean that women should not cut their hair.*

          *I have facetiously claimed that it instructs that men should wear hats, because “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.” Obviously means that a woman’s long hair is a substitute for a proper hat, like men wear.

            1. My nickname used to be Lady Godiva before (at around sixteen) the modesty thing was explained to me. I was born a natural heathen and saw no point in clothes in summer. I got that if I went that way outside I’d be arrested, but mom had trouble convincing me I should wear clothes INSIDE. Fortunately it was rarely obvious, as I had hair to my knees. 😛

              1. You know, I’d love to lament, “Where were the women like you when I was that age?” Unfortunately, I’m honest enough to admit that I was clueless and shy enough back then that I’d have totally missed it. (I’m probably still that clueless, but not quite as shy.)

        3. I once broke the brain (superglued it afterwards, I promise!) of a full-on, no-drinkin’-no-dancin’-no-facial-hair-EVAR Bill Gothard acolyte by asking whether she thought Jesus had been walking around in a neatly trimmed collar-and-ears haircut.

          1. A coliseum is across the street from the convention center that is location of the anime con that I work. One year our con occurred at the same time as the Bill Gaither Homecoming was appearing at the coliseum. I was, for various reasons, staying at the overflow hotel for the convention along with some of our vendors. Most of the people at that hotel were in town for Bill Gaither. This all lead to some very interesting conversations over breakfasts.

        1. No, facial hair is sexist. Why else would it be denied to most woman except for an evil sexist plot? LOL

        2. I’ll admit they didn’t get very far with it because Hipsters know what is important (fashion). But I’m serious. At least *someone* tried to argue that the growing fashion for men to wear facial hair supported a white-male-centric societal default (or whatever social justice construction of goobledegook words they used) because few black men can grow a good beard and most East Asians (and Native Americans for that matter) can’t grow one at all. As such it’s a fashion trend that only white men can really participate in. (They conveniently left out those other pro beard growers, Arabs and Persians.)

          Perfectly logical.


          1. Some of the most wicked beards I see on a daily basis belong to black dudes. That makes their entire argument…

            …wait for it…


            Hey, this is fun. I guess anyone can play. 😀

    2. If their first post isn’t blatantly trollish, I will usually try a civil response. After 2-3 posts, if I have determined their character, I respond with “Get back under your bridge, Troll”. The Troll was added when I found some too stupid to know that trolls live under bridges. I don’t respond to anything else they post.

      1. Well, yes. some ideas are ridiculous and should be ridiculed.

        My favorite method is pretending to take it seriously and examining the consequences such as: Does that mean that all those Pakistani and Iranian Muslims who wear beards are racist oppressors? Does that mean that when men’s fashion changed in the 19th century and men shaved their beards, their racism went along with it, and that is why we are so free of racism today? And are women exempt from being racist oppressors because estrogen? Any reasonable person should be able to see that the idea is ridiculous. If it’s a reasonable position, they should be able to present reasonable arguments. If they don’t have any and drop it, mission accomplished. If they come out with knives, that’s revealing, too. An insult is unnecessary in either case, (although I find the temptation must be staunchly resisted).

        But there’s a distinction between that, and retaliation for being insulted. And a further distinction between that, and verbal bullying. Of course, some people can’t recognize the distinction. And others find it convenient not to recognize the distinction.

        When I refer to disengaging, I also mean the ability to not worry whether something offends an enemy. Speak what you must, and don’t worry about who it bothers. An enemy is going to find something to be offended about, even if they have to invent a pretext. The New Testament is full of examples.

        There are even times, when an enemy is pretending false friendship or agreement, that you want to be offensive, to make it clear where the lines are and that you are not fooled. But those are tools to be used judiciously, not indiscriminately.

      2. not ‘net related,
        I was working at the airport and a new Ops agent started working for SWA and folks there said “Hey, JP, you’re from Michigan, Right?”
        “Yeah, I’m a Yooper”
        “Say hello to Latrice, She’s from Detroit”
        “Oh! A Troll”
        She looked at me for a minute and then “Oh, I’m from below the bridge, right?” (The Mackinac Bridge being the bridge in question)

    3. The problem with disengagement is that internet arguing is a spectator sport. If you don’t give enough responses to the other person, then the silent bystanders will assume that they were right, and you were wrong. You have to present enough to convince them that the troll is being a troll.

      Naturally, this can be hard to determine, since the bystanders typically don’t chime in to tell you.

      1. Well, yes. But I’m not trying to lead a community on the internet, and I have other things to do than play that particular sport, so I limit my participation.

  21. So, it seems like the best ideas are to respond to any allegation by an SJW with either a simple “No, go away and stop bothering the adults,” or with “You forgot to accuse me of witchcraft, too. Don’t forget the witchcraft.”

    1. In my abundant experience, if you use the word ‘witchcraft’ with any negative connotation whatever – and sometimes, no matter what the connotation is – among SJW Fans, you will be treated to a minimum half-hour harangue on the subject of ‘The Burning Times’, which, if subjected to a thorough semantic analysis, will be found to contain more lies than words.

      I do not advise this course of action, even though it does show up your interlocutor (to anyone except its fellow idiots) as a tantrum-throwing fool. The harangue wastes far more time than the demonstration is worth, and takes up bandwidth that sane people require for better purposes.

      1. I have no trouble letting others work themselves up into a tizzy in order to go on a rant, wasting their time and effort posting what exposes them for what they are and that I will neither take the time to or trouble of reading. Therefore I was not sure how I felt about your observations up to the point that you got to, ‘and takes up bandwidth that sane people require for better purposes.‘ Ah, there you had me.

      2. Immortal in my memory is the guy whose response to the observation that the biggest witchhunts on records were in the Roman Republic was to blame it on Christian influence.

      3. If one supposes that, as feminists claim, the eradication of a species of magic hominids was completed during the nineteenth century, one could also suppose that their witchcraft was the cause of early childhood mortality.

        When the secret genocide killed all the ancient crones in the western world, the witch’s magic was less effective at killing children. Hence the support for abortion as a way to secretly collect the materials they need to empower replacements.

  22. Generally “Big people are talking now. Go watch TV.” will dissuade the errant SJW, but give them a few allies and they’ll call for reinforcements and mob up.

    I always believed that the typical SJW mob was comprised of a few leaders that were following their own sociopolitical agenda, followed by a large group of not terribly bright TV sitcom fans. These days I’m not so sure. My own SO is a licensed clinical psychologist with the letters PhD after her name, but some of her beliefs are so far out in left field I can’t believe it. I suppose people are going to believe whatever it is that the want to believe, facts not withstanding.

    Thank you for writing this article and providing the links. It, and the articles you link to, are worthy reads.

    1. My own SO is a licensed clinical psychologist with the letters PhD after her name, but some of her beliefs are so far out in left field I can’t believe it.

      Frequently we find ourselves haunted by the zeitgeist insinuating strange concepts into our normality. Some professions (psychology) weaken the immune system more, some (economics) less, but all are vulnerable to the infestations.

      An excellent preventive is to drink gin with working class dudes.

        1. YOU may talk o’ gin an’ beer
          When you’re quartered safe out ‘ere,
          An’ you’re sent to penny-fights an’ Aldershot it;
          But if it comes to slaughter
          You will do your work on water.
          An’ you’ll lick the bloomin’ boots of ‘im that’s got it.

      1. Paul Krugman is testimony to the fact that economists are far, far from invulnerable to weird ideas at right angles to reality.

        1. Eh. We are talking resistance, not invulnerability, Krugman is the exception proving the rule. He is an out and outlier.

          1. Points deducted for lazy use of ‘the exception proving the rule’, which is never true except in specific legal contexts.

            Krugman is no exception. He calls himself an economist and has succeeded in spreading that misinformation among his fellow Leftists; but he is actually a card-carrying member of the cargo cult founded by John Maynard Keynes, which is to say, he bears the same relationship to a real economist that a Lysenkoist bears to an evolutionary biologist.

            1. Sheesh. Two jokes and you missed ’em both?

              Krugman (puts to the test) the rule of economists being resistant to the zeitgeist, as he was a competent albeit left-leaning economist until drinking the NY Times editorial office Kool-Aid in. The proof is in the pudding, Tommy.

              Gadzook, one’d hope by now I’d have amply demonstrated that I rarely use words lazily, carelessly or heedless of their nuances. I’m no Humpty-Dumpty; I can’t afford to pay words for extra duty.

              1. You say ‘competent albeit left-leaning economist’. I say ‘Keynesian, and therefore quack’.

                You say ‘(puts to the test) the rule’ that X implies Y. I say ‘was never X, and his failure to be Y is no test of the rule’. The fact that an ostrich has two legs in no way tests the rule that insects have six.

                ‘Out and outlier’ was cute and applicable. I didn’t think I was required to explicitly state that. One cannot deduct points, you know, unless they were awarded for something.

                1. I maintain he was, Nobel Award Committee aside, at one time a competent economist.

                  I cite in evidence, per wiki:

                  [O] From 1982 to 1983, Krugman spent a year working at the Reagan White House as a staff member of the Council of Economic Advisers.

                  [O] Krugman’s International Economics: Theory and Policy, co-authored with Maurice Obstfeld, is a standard undergraduate textbook on international economics.

                  [O] The Nobel Prize Committee stated that Krugman’s main contribution is his analysis of the effects of economies of scale, combined with the assumption that consumers appreciate diversity, on international trade and on the location of economic activity.

                  [O] Krugman’s explanation of trade between similar countries was proposed in a 1979 paper in the Journal of International Economics, and involves two key assumptions: that consumers prefer a diverse choice of brands, and that production favors economies of scale.

                  [O] What could be a simple error for some, Sowell points out, is doubtful to be the case for many in today’s chattering class–including Paul Krugman, a trained economist and frequent middle-class Cassandra, who falls into Sowell’s category of “people who should know better (and perhaps do know better).”

                  In that last entry it is clear that Sowell consider Krugman a competent if dishonest economist, as he says Krugman should know better.

    2. Progressives do not think. That doesn’t mean that all of them are incapable of rational thought, just that they don’t actually apply it to politics or economics. They want things like “nobody in poverty” to be true, so they’ll support a politician who says raising the minimum wage will lift people out of poverty, not bothering to think about the effects of raising the minimum wage on the labor market.

      1. Progressive do think, unfortunately not clearly. In spite of more than ample evidence that governmental oversight has failed to create a more perfect world, they continue to fanatically insist that this time it will work. True believers in the faith of progress, they are counting on progress in scientific and social understanding to create their man made utopia.

  23. Years ago, I was introduced to the term “Offense Thief” — one who insists on taking offense when there is no intention to give any.

  24. Heh.

    Found this lying at The Corner, by Jay Nordlinger:

    3) A friend in the theater biz sends me this important article: “Working with Transgender Actors: 5 Words to Know and 5 to Avoid*.”

    Let’s go right to the words to avoid: “transgendered”; “tranny,” “she-male,” “he-she”; “transvestite” or “cross-dresser”; “pre-op” and “post-op”; “sex change.”

    To which I have only one thing to say — or rather, five things — or rather, nine things: transgendered, tranny, she-male, he-she, transvestite, cross-dresser, pre-op, post-op, and sex change.

    One of the reasons I rejected the Left, many years ago, is that they were language police. And I found that offensive and illiberal — and un-American (to use an antique word). Once in a great while, you’ll find language police on the right: for example, people who insist that you say “homosexual marriage,” not “gay marriage.” But mainly, these cops are on the left.

    And should be told to — go away (to be as polite as I can be).

    *N.B. – link at site of excerpted comment

      1. They cannot tell you that, for their power lies in their ability to declare anything offensive at any time. If they gave out a list of pre-approved words then they couldn’t control the discussion.

        1. Besides that, any pre-approved word they could give you would rather quickly acquire negative connotations, and then they would then have to ban that one, too. Might as well go back to grunting and pointing.

          1. Didn’t your Mama teach you that pointing was rude? Grunting and pointing at someone is highly offensive, almost as offensive as pointing and laughing.

  25. Apologies if I posted this before. I thought I did but I cannot find it:

    MRK is doubling down on declaring “Chicom” a racial slur and is now riding her hobby horse it Roman style by calling “Maoist” pejorative.

    She’s dug up three more “authoritative” sources, to be found here: does not call Chicom a racial slur, also does not provide, title, publisher, nationality or author. — From a racial activist group in Michigan From the US State department, which also does not call it a racist slur.

    You can check them out for yourselves and decide if they reinforce her argument. For my part, I would hire her out here in a minute Not to write, but to pick cherries.

    1. Checked all three and MRK is only saved from being a effing idiot by my doubts anybody would want to eff her.

      There has been no question the term was mildly pejorative, even derogatory, but claims the usage is an ethnic slur is unsupported.

      To reach such a conclusion requires the type of thought that would have MRK attempt rebutting my first sentence characterization of her by insisting that she does, too, eff.

      The pejorative derives from the Com, not the Chi.

      1. BTW – an appropriate response at this point might be to compliment her on here extensive research and the quality of her cherry-picking while inquiring why is she so invested in this, especially as a) she has acknowledged she did not originally know Chicom to be an “ethnic slur”.and b) has already recognized that Sarah did not intend it as such. So why is she chasing her tail in such tight circles?

        1. Because I must be DISCREDITED! I suggest that’s the answer you give her “The more you try to discredit Sarah, the more you discredit yourself.” Part of this is that by now she’d have anyone in her circles apologizing in tears. She needs a bigger circle.

            1. So, stupid word press … it hiccoughed, didn’t show the comment and I re-posted… at which point both show up. I reiterate, stupid word press. I expand, stupid frustrating interface!

          1. When I see what she is doing I get the mental picture of a bulldog once it has locked its jaws on something, digging in and holding on even when it no longer makes sense.

    2. I think Sarah has already made herself perfectly clear. If MRK wants to prove how far out of shape she can stretch herself to defend the absurd, that’s her privilege.

      1. How much simpler for her would it be if she simply said she was wrong …

        We’ve video evidence that she tried that once.

        It did not go well.

        1. I just noticed this carries the label “fonzie wrong desktop” and realized it must refer to an Apple ’cause The Fonz ain’t PC.

    3. ‘Maoist’ being racist is a stupid argument aimed at a very ignorant audience.

      There are Maoists of every ethnic background, and where they have any amount of power they are murderous fruitcakes.

      I suppose she is writing to convince people who don’t know there is a difference between Han and Nepalese.

      1. Obviously, by extension, Castroite, Peronist and Chavezista are anti-Hispanic slurs.

        Classic case of one determined to remove all doubt.

      2. And then of course, there’s another type of “Maoist” that’s fairly common on this list: those of us with hair. So those of us who are excessively Maoist can shave.

        (“Mao” is Mandarin Chinese for “hair”.)

        (Yes, same character.)

            1. When I was doing research, I saw speculation that one of his ancestors had cut the belly of an elephant during, IIRC, the second Punic war. The nick name was common in his family. His father and grandfather were also Gaius Julius Caesar.

          1. Guess you have to watch out for hirsute guys. (glances down at own hairy arms, chuckles evilly)

      3. Yep. Dealt with Portuguese Maoists. BUT this woman is DUMB. D U M B. And she’s dealing with an audience even dumber than herself. It’s amazing, you know, the whole lot of them don’t suffocate by forgetting to inhale after exhaling.

        1. It’s a special kind of stupid that needs the vacuum of privilege and academia to germinate and grow properly.

      4. Now, now. Based on the post, we just know that she’s saying that “Maoist” is a pejorative, not that it’s a racist pejorative.
        Let us give her some credit for accidentally stumbling on truth.

          1. Yes — it is all pejorative, all Hate Speech — when you say it. In fact, every word you say is Hate Speech, including ‘and’ and ‘the’ so just shut your racist pie hole.

            1. I’m actually a little bit serious when I say that ‘white supremacism is thinking thoughts other than Lincolnism-Shermanism Mitt Romney thought’. But a significant chunk of it is mockery, originally inspired by “Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung thought”.

        1. Thank you. I hadn’t done the research, and was lazy. I guess I ended up attacking a strawman there. My regrets.

        1. Everyone bagging on Mao, I don’t get it. Mao’s not so bad. Especially on a ham and cheese sandwich….

          …what’s that? There’s supposed to be a “y” in there to make it Mayo?

          Whoops. My bad.

    4. She’s been using the same three “academic references” all weekend on several people, myself among them. My response here, posted Friday — no response.

      I haven’t seen anything to dissuade me from the assumption that her “academic sources” are the result of a Google book search for ChiCom. Particularly since her links lead to the result of Google books searches. For ChiCom. And she’s not added any additional sources.

      She staked out a position, intended to discredit Sarah as battlespace preparation for the next round of contentious Hugo Awards, and then found herself scrambling to prove her claim in the face of people who aren’t inclined to swallow shit simply because she declares (in superior tones) it’s chocolate.

      That a number of people are speaking through brown-smeared teeth does not bolster her argument.

  26. I cannot possibly recommend highly enough a little remembered book by Eric Frank Russell called THE RABBLE ROUSERS. It was published only once, in paperback, but it’s worth getting your hands on. I went to the trouble of having it scanned, but I don’t think I can legally offer to share, but interlibrary loan has gotten it for me in the past.

    Non-fiction. Essays on Mob behavior. Episodes include one on the Sacco and Vanzetti case, and another on the Dreyfus case in France. Also, the Florida Land Boom, the funeral of Rudolph Valentino, and several others.

      1. The thing is, WASP gets reprinted. WASP is out there.

        RABBLE ROUSERS was published once, in paperback, in 1963. The story I’ve read is that Harlan Ellison was working for a publisher of paperback exploitation titles (Geenleaf?), and made a deal to be allowed an imprint of somewhat more substantive books. That was Regency. In addition to RABBLE ROUSERS, Regency published MEMOS FROM PURGATORY, GENTLEMAN JUNKIE, and THE GRIFTERS.

        And RABBLE ROUSERS is as funny and dark as anything Russell wrote in fiction. If I had time and energy and money I would seriously try to put it in print myself.

  27. Insightful comment from one who had been there:

    There are no rational means of predicting the ‘future of humanity’ over a long period or foretelling the nature of ‘social formations’ in ages to come. The idea that we can make such forecasts ‘scientifically,’ and that without doing so we cannot understand the past, is inherent in the Marxist theory of ‘social formations;’ it is one reason why the theory is a fantasy, and also why it is politically effective. The influence that Marxism has achieved, for from being the result or proof of its scientific character, is almost entirely due to its prophetic, fantastic, and irrational elements. Marxism is a doctrine of blind confidence that a paradise of universal satisfaction is awaiting us just around the corner. Almost all the prophecies of Marx and his followers have already proved to be false, but this does not disturb the spiritual certainty of the faithful, any more than it did in the case of chiliastic sects: for it is certainty not based on any empirical premises or supposed ‘historical laws,’ but simply on the psychological need for certainty. In this sense Marxism performs the function of a religion, and its efficacy is of a religious character. But it is a caricature and a bogus form of religion, since it presents its temporal eschatology as a scientific system, which religious mythologies do not purport to be. . .

    At present Marxism neither interprets the world nor changes it: it is merely a repertoire of slogans serving to organize various interests, most of them completely remote from those which Marxism originally identified itself.

    “Leszek Kolakowski, the great Polish philosopher who broke with Communism in the 1970s, and produced the magisterial three-volume treatise, Main Currents of Marxism, originally published in 1978.”

    I don’t know whether that was off toopic, but then, are such things ever OT around here?

      1. Just beware of heading off on a sine. As I understand it, once you get to the fourth sub-level, you also need a cosiner if you want to open THAT door.

      2. OT, your mention of tangents made me think of the acronym POC. As a surveyor who has staked more roads, curbs, walls, etc. in the past than he ever wants to remember, whenever I see that acronym I immediately interpret it as Point On Curve which causes confusion when used as a description of a person.

  28. “Confrontation with the truth only leads to more accusations, often of unrelated and imagined sins the mob demands expiation for, without ever stopping to explain what would redeem the target individual.” Nothing will redeem it, for they will accept nothing.

    You have to bait them into a trap of your devising.

    1. A lot of paranoids, too.

      Actually, I’ve been reading a book about dealing with people who have personality disorders (it’s called Emotional Vampires at Work, so yeah it’s a pop psychology book, but it’s by a psychologist), and it really does sound very familiar. People with personality disorders are the ones who drive other people crazy. They are basically working on an immature baby worldview, which is why they are dangerous. You can’t let yourself get sucked into their crazy, because they’re better at it than you are.

      The way to beat them is to understand their worldview and use that knowledge to outthink them, by helping them get what they want in the way you want them to get it. (Obviously longterm help would involve them becoming mature adults, but this book accepts that remaking people isn’t the business of coworkers and acquaintances. Or other people on the Internet and in fandom, in our case. It would be nice to have a social structure that encourages maturation, but that’s a very long term goal.)

      The worldview rules of people with personality disorders sound pretty familiar:

      1. My needs are more important than anybody else’s.
      2. Rules apply to other people, not me.
      3. It’s never my fault.
      4. I want it now.
      5. If I don’t get it, I throw a tantrum.

      1. So anyway, the point is that although they are often doing evil and dangerous things, and the adults in the room recognize that, it’s often not useful to fight them like mature evil people. It’s also not useful to feel sorry for them. They are babies reacting from their little lizard brains, and we have to cope with them as such (albeit in a more polite way than parents deal with kids in the terrible twos, since they’re not _our_ kids, either).

        Also, some of these folks are victims who used to be mature and well-adjusted, but have gotten sucked into an immature worldview, or a painfully reactive worldview (because they don’t understand what’s happening), by their immature “friends” with personality disorders. Which explains a lot about why some people we used to know have changed their personalities so much.

        1. The other point the book makes is that people with personality disorders can be very good at recognizing how other mature people think and pulling their strings, because they are so focused on getting what they want. They don’t feel and care the way you do, but they know how to make you do things.

          So in order to defend yourself against these people, and in order to get them doing what you want, you have to understand your own weak points and the sorts of things they will try to do, in order to leverage your weak points.

          1. The book advises that if you’re a technically minded person who is interested in essentials, you have to treat different ways of thinking and acting towards people as tools that you can switch around.

            If you’re someone who is motivated by morality and fairness and hard work, you have to realize that people with personality disorders don’t really recognize those things or examine themselves morally; they have totally different things driving them. Anything that people with personality disorders says they want can be misdirection, so you have to know what they want and not trust their lips. Also, there’s no sense letting people with no heart (in an adult sense, because babies are selfish) break yours.

            And if you are a people person who learns by observation and does office politics, you have to watch out that you don’t learn the immature behavior from people in powerful positions who have personality disorders, because the pragmatic part of you might try to “mirror” them.

          2. The advantage of being technically minded is that you’re less likely to fall for the BS in the first place, even if you don’t understand what’s wrong or how to fix it. We have a lot of Sad Puppies in this group.

            The advantage of being interested in doing everything well and honestly is that you can learn and use new techniques, and you’ll be very sincere about using them for the good of people with personality disorders. We also have a fair number of these folks.

            The politickers will probably be best about using psychological techniques, because they do that anyway. We don’t have a huge number of these true-SMOFs and herders of cats, but we’ve got some.

      2. For a great example of emotional vampirism, swing on over to MGC, where Paul Weimer showed up in the comments section and blamed the SPs for causing him to think suicidal thoughts.

          1. And I don’t think he appreciated me calling him on his crap in that thread.

            Sorry, but I’m not responsible for the demons in your head, especially when I’m doing nothing that’s specifically directed at you. If you have demons, then get some damn help, but don’t blame me for them.

            It’s also not the first time he’s done that crap either.

              1. I started to comment on this but realized that my impulse was to begin with “that two-faced little weasel” and go downhill from there.

                The interesting thing about suicide is that it only makes sense if you believe in non-existence. If you believe in karma a suicide just resets your crappy life to status ante and leaves you the same karmic burden to resolve. If you accept Heaven & Hell as premises, suicide takes you to the latter, a place where it is unlikely conditions will improve … in fact, the fitting punishment would be to reset you to status quo ante.

                Whining about how other people, people over whom you exercise no influence, make you depressed and suicidal is to turn your problem inside out, depriving yourself of agency and using your inner, self-inflicted misery as a lever to manipulate others. I am (diminishingly) sympathetic but you are well inside the orbit of “other people’s problems” and far outside the realm of “my problems.”

                Most suicides are nasty acts of aggression, leaving a mess for better people to clean.

                1. The thing is, it doesn’t make any sense if you look at it rationally. By the time someone is at that point, they’re rarely rational. Either their depression is so bad that they think suicide is the only way to end their pain (the selfish approach, as it creates pain for others), or they figure “they’ll be sorry” (the asshole approach, as it tries to make people feel guilty AND get the last word in all at the same time).

                  In neither cases, however, his the person considering suicide “rational”. Especially since it’s usually a permanent solution to a temporary problem or set of problems.

        1. Yeah, I saw that. On the one hand, it’s the one threat that a decent human being has to say something about. On the other hand, if genuine, he really needs to give his brain a talking to; and if not genuine, it’s a despicable sort of thing to lie about.

          But if it’s just the adult equivalent of a baby yelling “Wah,” there’s no point thinking of a lie or an overdramatization as despicable. It’s just a signal of need and unhappiness.

          So the question is how we can collectively diaper somebody else’s babies without losing our own minds, or anything else we value.

          1. I struggle with this, because my initial reaction to anyone threatening suicide is, “it’s no skin of my nose if you suck-start a shotgun.” And then I have to convince myself that a decent person wouldn’t say that.
            Of course my opinion that a decent person wouldn’t threaten suicide, undermines that argument.

      3. See also recent Instapundit post discussing “grievance collecting” —

        Grievance collecting is a step on the journey to a full-blown paranoid psychosis. A grievance collector will move from the passive assumption of deprivation and low expectancy common to most paranoid personalities to a more aggressive mode. He will not endure passively his deprived state; he will occupy himself with accumulating evidence of his misfortunes and locating the sources. Grievance collectors are distrustful and provocative, convinced that they are always taken advantage of and given less than their fair share. . . .

        Underlying this philosophy is an undeviating comparative and competitive view of life. Everything is part of a zero-sum game. Deprivation can be felt in another person’s abundance of good fortune.

      4. The book says that the thing to do with bullies who bombard you with insults and demands is to step out of their pattern.

        1. Ask for time to think about what they’re saying, and continue saying that you’re still thinking about their comments.

        2. Remember that your goal is to de-escalate things, and generally to spoil the bully’s fun by not sticking with the bully pattern.

        3. Ask them what they think should be done in such a situation. (Passive voice helps to de-escalate.) Ask a lot of questions of interest, and thus control the situation.

        4. Bullies love setting up a dominance/submission pattern. In the work situation with a boss, you have to put up with it. In an Internet situation, you can reply in a way totally sideways to dominance and submission, and probably should.

      5. The paranoid bullies, of which we have quite a few, are the diehard SJWs who really believe. They also really crave followers, and they are always looking for benefits for themselves (like cult leaders). But they don’t recognize this, because they know they are oppressed and hated by the evil evil world. Outsiders are beyond contempt. (The traditional fannish pattern of being mocked as kids, and the “fans are slans” stuff, has unfortunately played into this.)

        Truth comes from the leaders and proof is not required; it’s dangerous, even. Independent thinking is bad. Joking and doubt are bad. Your degree of accountability is inversely proportional to your status in the group; leaders are never wrong, and bottom-most followers are always partly to blame. Somehow. There is no transparency, because that would be bad for the followers. Banishment and unpersoning is always a threat.

        Unfortunately, this crap sandwich attracts high-minded and high-achieving people by pretending to be about high goals and progress for good. That’s great if it’s a legitimate and empowering belief system, but not so great if it’s a personality cult or a perpetual witch hunt.

        Paranoids are very perceptive, but not wise. They hate ambiguity. They are unpredictable in behavior because their perceptions change from moment to moment. They have no permanent trust in anyone, unless they don’t know anything about them. (Hence the affection for Dear Leader far above.) They love to attack friends as a loyalty test. They love revenge. Their need is to be perfectly understood and thus loved (and obeyed unquestioningly).

        1. So anyway, there are a lot of other types that show up in fandom occasionally (narcissism is popular among some BNFs and writers, and lots of us are obsessives but usually not in a way that hurts others), but that’s most of the goodies I plucked from the book. Probably most people aren’t full-blown crazy, but just suffer some tendencies or are caught up with friends who have personality disorders running wild.

          What we need is a Sad Puppies narrative or system that soothes some of this neediness without compromising our basic goals (ie, let’s encourage good sf/f that is worth giving money). A lot of traditional organizations and belief structures did give room for the immature (and encourage maturation), so it’s doable. Since we don’t want to start a false religion, God forfend, we should probably be thinking more club-ish.

      6. I encountered that concept under the term “psychic vampire” back in the early 1970s. A quick NGRAM check shows that both “psychic vampire” and “emotional vampire” seem to enter the written language in the first decade of the 1900s. “Psychic vampire” enjoys a peak around 2000 and is declining; “emotional vampire” seems to be enjoying a steady rise.

        It seems to be a topic for pop psychologists and a few pop religionists.

        1. I got to work for one of those creatures (not my boss, but one of my superiors.) I learned a great deal about how not to manage people from him.

  29. A couple of centuries ago, they referred to this phenomenon as ‘a disease in the public mind’.

    Sadly, it seems to be a deeply ingrained part of the human condition.

  30. I reject the “mob mentality” concept entirely Sarah.

    I think that a lot of people are just mean, wretched f-tards just itching to do mean wretched things – and when they find themselves in a situation where there is safety in numbers – they act on those urges. Think about it: you and I could be in the middle of such crowds and feel no urge to fight or vandalize or destroy. If we had been in the middle of that pack of offenceniks we would have walked away laughing.

    My daughter is one. She fancies herself as an artist. She is a militant unpleasant lesbian. She is an active member of the SJW crowd that you guys have been fighting tooth and nail in the Sad Puppy thing. I spent half my life fighting and winning pitched battles with her as she grew up – only to lose wars. Today the tactics of the SJW mobs are common knowledge, but when my daughter started using those tactics against me … It was new territory for everyone. I know how these people think. I know some of you folks were shocked when they burned down the Hugos when they couldn’t get their way. You shouldn’t have been; they will burn down their communities, their nation and their own families if they don’t get their way – and think nothing of it. They honestly think themselves victims even as they strike at others.

    The whole Puppy thing is similarly fundamentally flawed: some think an accommodation with these people is possible. There is, I suppose – but it would involve your acceptance of their absolute authority over you, and their moral and intellectual superiority to you. That was the deal my daughter and her love partner offered me 4 or 5 years ago and when I rejected it – they walked away and I haven’t seen her since. Dunno if I want to either, really. I see so many similarities between your battle with the SJWs and mine with my daughter…and I feel sorry for you. The only outcome in battles with these people is one where everyone loses. Been there, done that, bought the tee shirt.

    For better or for worse these wretched, angry people have found a home in the SF/F community. They aren’t going anywhere…they have nowhere else to go.

    As a veteran of the SJW battle my advice to you folks is that you establish your own community away from the SJW crowd. You’re half way there now. Get your own publishers, your own awards, have your own events and your own voice. It’s better for everyone that way.

    1. Other arenas have tried to abandon what they had been a part of, and build something new, but the screeching harpies inevitably invade and tear down the new after the old is a lifeless husk.

      The only way to stop this happening is to push them to the outer darkness and keep pushing until they collapse under the weight of their own hubris, after all support for it is gone.

    2. It is tragic and painful when someone in the family gives you an ultimatum of my way or not at all. You are right, nobody wins. I am sorry this has happened to you.

          1. Could be both are; it can run in families. Sometimes integrity might be mistaken for intransigence. Sometimes intransigence acts as a survival trait. Often it is simply serves to isolate and destroy.

        1. The failure here is mine and mine alone. But like you I just don’t know how to deal with these people. You know how it is…it’s hard to be mature, patient and tolerant when some half wit SJW a-hole is ripping and clawing at you. When my daughter went for her guns I pulled mine – and our words hit with all the hate and hurt that bullets do. She tried to make our differences about bigotry and homophobia…and maybe they were to her. To me it was about immaturity, stupid life decisions and irresponsibility. Like you guys, I suppose…we can’t even agree on what the fight is about.

          Today I’ve heard through the grapevine that she is pretty much adrift with no real goals or ambitions. She dreams about being an illustrator for the SF/F crowd…but with her talent you’ll see this 50 rear old stubfart playing for the NBA first. When I pointed out that she just doesn’t have the talent to compete with the artists you guys are paying…she took it as betrayal. I was the only one that would shoot straight with her about this. I did that because I loved her; a daughter should be able to count on her father to be honest with her, I believe that to this day. She flipped me off, got a Mickey mouse art degree from a no name college, took on massive student debt and all the while my progtard in laws egged her on. And of course when she graduated…none of the publishers gave her a second glance. (I don’t blame them either; to cut it in that game you need talent, luck, persistence and contacts – just to get started. She had none of that).

          I figured that once she failed that maybe she would listen to reason but she just got meaner and nastier and when the ultimatums and threats didn’t work we just drifted apart. I was angry and bitter about it for years. Still am once in awhile … But it’s better this way. She is an adult; I am edging closer to my senior years and retirement and we have vastly different priorities. I don’t need her failure and drama; she doesn’t need my grumping or help…so it is what it is. We are both heading in different directions to different futures and a part of me still wishes her well.

          That’s what I think you need to do, Sarah. The energy you waste fighting with them would be better used developing new markets, products and communities. They won’t follow you, they will be more than happy to be rid of you after the chit kicking they got in your little feud. If they try to invade your space you kick them out the same way the gamers do. Think about this feud… The only option you have is to escalate it. Has that worked so far?

          It’s just my two bits after a decade of fighting with these types. At some point it’s just best to let go and move on.

          1. Two things, though — yeah, a art degree won’t help. Just practicing does. But I’m not even sure I believe in talent. I believe in hard work and perseverance. No, I don’t know how to mend something like that. I will just say that people change and redemption is real. She might learn hard work and perseverance, and you might find each other again.

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