My response to the Pavilion Lynch Mob

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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My response to the Pavilion Lynch Mob

Postby rich » Thu Jan 12, 2006 9:58 am

I was thinking of letting it go, but, y'know, I'm not that nice of a guy. So here we go...

Steve Barber: It wasn't below the belt.

Cindy: Insulting you is like insulting a retarded person: Way too easy, and others may take offense. But I'm gonna do it anyway. This may come as a shock to you, but I doubt there's any way I can cause Harlan pain. Seeing as how you failed to even remotely read my post in any but the most negative light, I'm left to wondering what it is that resides between those ears of yours. Dust? Cotton balls? Is it a Harlan Vacuum, only able to comprehend Harlan-related words? I know you don't come over this side 'cause Harlan doesn't come over here, but here's hoping someone tells you what I said. By the way, how's that Mason County thing going? Any indictments yet? Or are you trying to sell it as a screenplay?

David Loftus: I don't doubt some appreciated Harlan showing up, but the bottomline is that there were others there that could've filled in the gaps of Charlie's childhood. And, again, I'm not the one that suggested Harlan was an outsider at his cousin's funeral. Harlan did.

Jan: See my comments to Cindy, minus the Mason County thing.

Valerie: Thanks, but no thanks. I made enough "friends" with what I wrote. I don't need some hackneyed single-celled dumbass helping me out. Especially one who apparently has his or her own axe to grind with Ellison.

Cookie: I did not come here to be mean and sanctimonious. I may be a jerk, but I didn't try to be in my post.

Todd: I'm only a jerk to Cookie. It's entirely possible you may know what you're talking about, but only if you get your head out of Harlan's ass long enough to see another point of view. Since you don't come over on this side because Harlan doesn't dwell here, I'm hoping someone points this one out to you.

Adam-Troy Castro: Ah, the reasonable writer friend who apparently doesn't read too closely and takes it upon himself to explain why I'm such a dick. I read your 2d-grade primer on "drifting apart" you posted on the Pavilion. Now if you'd kindly reread what I wrote initially, give some thought as to what I actually said (bearing in mind that I'm not an award-nominated writer like yourself), and then shove what you wrote up your ass. Then post a picture of that on your website. Oh, and someone will have to let A-TC know about this too, as, yeah, you guessed it, Harlan doesn't reside over a whole lot so A-TC doesn't come over here. Hmmm, seems to be a trend for some very vocal people?

Rob: You're even more retarded than Cindy. I'm actually not living in my own world. If I was, you wouldn't even be in it. I'm surprised you made it this far in life. Usually stupidity kills at a young age.

Now that I've gotten my sophomoric insults out of the way, let me say one last thing and I leave this thread for you to post your retorts if you want. I'm not responding back to anything posted in here so you can fire at will.

What I wrote on the Pavilion I would've said to Harlan's face. As a matter of fact, it probably would've been better that way as I may have been able to articulate my response better in a give and take conversation. One post per day, trying to put down what you're actually feeling is difficult at best. Couple that with not towing the party line at the Pavilion, and I should've known I was going to get the responses I got.

Live and learn I guess.

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Postby Jan » Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:34 pm

Sorry rich, didn't really mean to hit you in any personal way, I was more concerned about Harlan there. When someone is down you must try to be sensitive. That's the message we were trying to impart, in case you're not paying attention. That's probably what makes me a retard, apart from not reading your post careful enough to pick up all the layers and discover how nice you actually are.

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Postby robochrist » Thu Jan 12, 2006 8:20 pm

"Rob, you are even more retarded than Cindy"

Rich,

THAT'S your resolution?

I've seen more mature comebacks from a Labrador Duck with its head stuck in a tar pit.

Y'know, you didn't have to work quite THIS hard to prove yourself a dipshit. Oh, yes...you are, indeed, living in your own vacuum-sealed world.

But don't worry 'bout it, man. You've been amusing me for the last couple o'days. If you have any OTHER heartening sentiments - PLEASE - by all means, INDULGE us.

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Postby Steve Evil » Thu Jan 12, 2006 9:38 pm

Wow. I can just feel the love.

And there's nothing I love more than folk who start arguments then refuse to finish them.

rich

Postby rich » Fri Jan 13, 2006 5:18 am

I really wasn't going to respond to anyone in this as it would've been pointless, and a waste of time. I just set this up as my rejoinder to those that attacked me.

But I must say...Cindy is just plain dumb. Not only that, but anyone who responded because Cindy posted my screed on the Pavilion is a dumbass. I deliberately put this over here so people could come over here and beat up on me without having the whole world, who really doesn't give a shit about this, from having to witness our immaturity.

I made some comments regarding people with their heads up Harlan's ass. The post on the Pavilion by Cindy, and others that felt they had to chime in, only confirms my off the cuff remark. It seems that people don't really give a shit about anything unless they can get Harlan's attention. It's like a bunch of Horseshacks saying, "Ooooh, ooooh, lookit me!"

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Postby Eric Martin » Fri Jan 13, 2006 8:28 am

Cindy cross-posted that so Harlan would see it. No other reason. Some people can only function when the eyes of their hero rest upon them.

I thought we weren't going to see here again until she had a Mason County sheriff's badge in her hand. Guess that one really WAS a witch-hunt.

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Postby Jan » Fri Jan 13, 2006 8:29 am

Hey, I want some personalized being-hacked-away-at too!!! You always devote more attention to Cindy! She was right about dragging you into the light - why spend time writing about you when your words speak perfectly for themselves.

It's also clear that you're not just having a bad week, I've had my trouble with you previously, but I was alone then.

In the Pavillion I was also a bit dismayed by some people whose attitude was/is "Let's wait for Harlan to slap him" or "rich is really a nice guy despite clear evidence to the contrary". Cindy was very nearly the only person who has shown any real grasp of what you did and who you are.

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Re: My response to the Pavilion Lynch Mob

Postby admin » Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:20 am

rich wrote:II'm not the one that suggested Harlan was an outsider at his cousin's funeral. Harlan did.


I feel having said something on the Pavilion about disagreeing with Rich I should back it up here, as much as I am loathe to do so.

When any friend, ESPECIALLY an old friend, dies, it's the most natural thing in the world to experience regret about the quantity and quality of time spent with them.

Once someone is dead, we realize we will never see them again, never talk to them again, never have any opportunity for them to know how we feel about them. It makes us feel like we should have done more for them over the years. This type of guilt/regret is a known part of the depression stage of grief.

I have friends I have not talked to in 5 years and ones I talked to yesterday. But if any of them died, I would not be able to help feeling I did not do enough with and for them. It's just the way of things. It's illogical - no one has time to spend the time they "should" with everyone in their lives and friends come and go from our lives, fade in and out. But grief is anything but logical.

This leads naturally, and also illogically, to feelings like looking at other people who knew Charlie longer and better and feeling like an outsider at his funeral. It has nothing to do with whether or not he was actually an outsider, especially with regards to having anything to do with knowing a family nickname. I was "Ricky" until I was 9 or 10 at which time I decided it was too "childish" and demanded I be "Rick." Most of my close family and some friends who knew me then still call me Ricky. Were I to die undoubtedly a number of people would wonder why they knew me as "Rick" and others as "Ricky." And I would also welcome those I knew as friend for coming and sharing their grief - regardless of how long it had been since I had seen them.

So, basically, regret and guilt over not being close enough to a dead friend or not having done enough for them are natural products of the process of grief regardless of the real quality of one's relationship with the deceased. I would commend Harlan for having the courage to relate these feelings if he hadn't already been relating that way for decades.

I am not saying it's not possible Harlan did not "do right" by Charlie or that he had no place at his funeral, but to express anger towards him based on his expression of guilt is naïve and irresponsible. That's like telling a kid who thinks he caused his parent's divorce "Yeah, you probably did, you little shit." When someone is grieving, giving any confirmation to their fears and doubts is about the worst thing you can do to them. Even if some of those doubts have teeth (which as I've indicated is debatable here). You just don't do it. Do people not know this?


On top of disagreeing with Rich on whether or not Harlan did anything wrong, I also have issue with a couple of other things.

First, assuming outrage on behalf of a group of people you don't even know is almost always a bad idea. It was the right of the people at the funeral to become angry at Harlan if they so wanted. Rich was not there, he has only the foggiest information on what went on, and he doesn't even know what was said or what passed between Harlan and those people. To claim HE would have wanted to punch Harlan in the face runs the risk of presuming the funeral goers either were hoodwinked and starstrucked by Ellison, or that they were bumpkins too imperceptive to have the "proper" mixed response of gratitude, pity, and anger.

Second, Rich's later statements to any and all make me wonder how much of why he decided to speak out was motivated by the feeling that many of the people on the board are stupid lockstep followers of Harlan who accept his every word as gospel and think he can do no wrong, and possibly a desire to correct their error. His first statement seemed to me an indication (a flawed one, in my opinion) that this was a more complex situation than people realized. However, his later statements seem to indicate an anger at others for not realizing this "complexity" on top of the justified anger at being called a venomous monster. Illuminating others is a good thing, but doing so by insulting and belittling them is probably not the best way to go about it.


In short, I think the best way to put my feelings is that neither Harlan nor Rich are the most reliable narrators of this story. We should laud them both for having the courage to express what for Harlan was an embarassing recollection and what for Rich was an unpopular opinion. I do, as I've indicated above, think Rich's interpretation was flawed - and probably did more harm than good. However, I see no indication he did it with any sort of malice. There is no reason to call him a monster.

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Postby Eric Martin » Fri Jan 13, 2006 1:38 pm

My take on this dead-horse affair, and it could be tone-deaf, is that the feelings that HE expressed about the funeral and his cousin were a little extreme, given that he evidently didn't have much of a relationship with this man.

I have many cousins, most of whom I see about twice a year, at various family gatherings. One or two have died, and I'm sure a few more will go before I do. I haven't felt particularly grief-stricken by their departures. And when those that I palled with as a child die (if they die before me), I'm sure I'll go to the funeral but will not be overwhelmed. As Billy Pilgrim said, so it goes.

HE tends to rhapsodize about death and loss with a passion and urgency that sometimes seems a little...too much. Indeed, I'm wondering if Harlan ever gets out anymore, except to go to funerals, and if he's not a little TOO pre-occupied wikth and morose over what is a natural part of our lives. As I said elsewhere, the Pavilion is fast becoming a virtual funeral parlor, and everyone is taking their cues on this from the Patron.

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Postby robochrist » Fri Jan 13, 2006 1:56 pm

"I do, as I've indicated above, think Rich's interpretation was flawed - and probably did more harm than good. However, I see no indication he did it with any sort of malice. There is no reason to call him a monster."

That's almost exactly what I said in my first post in the Pavilion; I mean that's ALL I was saying. I characterized Rich's statements as a flawed interpretation, not out of some blind loyalty to Harlan but in a practical light. And now I'm nothin' but a retard lost in the snowdrift.

Rich may not be a "monster", but he's proving himself many other things. More - I'd say - on the PATHETIC end of the spectrum.

Now that I'm done with THAT, I gotta get back to counting my fingers. I started early dis mornin' and now I've lost my place...

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Postby Eric Martin » Fri Jan 13, 2006 2:19 pm

>And now I'm nothin' but a retard lost in the snowdrift. <

Self-knowledge is a wondrous thing.

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Postby David Loftus » Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:11 pm

Eric Martin wrote:My take on this dead-horse affair, and it could be tone-deaf, is that the feelings that HE expressed about the funeral and his cousin were a little extreme, given that he evidently didn't have much of a relationship with this man.

I have many cousins, most of whom I see about twice a year, at various family gatherings. One or two have died, and I'm sure a few more will go before I do. I haven't felt particularly grief-stricken by their departures. And when those that I palled with as a child die (if they die before me), I'm sure I'll go to the funeral but will not be overwhelmed. As Billy Pilgrim said, so it goes.

HE tends to rhapsodize about death and loss with a passion and urgency that sometimes seems a little...too much. Indeed, I'm wondering if Harlan ever gets out anymore, except to go to funerals, and if he's not a little TOO pre-occupied wikth and morose over what is a natural part of our lives. As I said elsewhere, the Pavilion is fast becoming a virtual funeral parlor, and everyone is taking their cues on this from the Patron.



See if you feel the same when you're 71 and many of the people you knew are gone and others are dropping every day.

Perspective can be a strange thing.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Postby Eric Martin » Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:23 pm

Well David, my dad is 71, and his friends are "dropping every day" as you put it, and he doesn't seem quite as crapped out about it as HE.

So maybe I'll benefit from the genes, huh?

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Postby DVG » Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:54 pm

I don't think that there's any one way to react to death. What seems morbidity on one side fot eh emotional spectrum is contrasted with a repellant coolness on the other.

I think, personally, that to treat death as an unforgivable thing is a mistake. But who knows? I've been fortunate enough not to see a great deal of it as of yet.

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Motives and such

Postby Nimdok » Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:54 pm

Hokay, I was leaving this pretty well alone until I came over to this side of the board and read the last few messages.

I think we need to draw a distinction between people who took exception to Rich's remarks, and those who used their disagreement to launch into personal invectives. I would seriously hope to be among the former and not the latter. There are two kinds of daily posters on the board -- those that behave and those that don't. Rich may start arguments but at least tries hard to explain the position. In this case I think the whole goat was gotten by his sentiment he'd have punched out not just Harlan but any person who interloped in the same way. (BTW - I really doubt he would have truly hauled up and hit someone publicly, but the imagery was there and he took it.)

Second, I think that we're all on a little bit of thin ice when it comes to decifering Harlan's (or anyone else's) state of mind about death and losses. Yes, there's been a bit of Obit-fever, but don't forget the upbeat stuff as well (new copies of books, productions based on his work, this little thingy called the Grand Master Award...). Now, because he's silent, we got people deciding he's morose and sealed inside some castle of depression.

I've spoken my piece about the comments Rich made originally and I think we agree to disagree. But let's not assume we can determine the motivations or state of mind of someone because of a posting on a message board. That way lies madness...
"Stay in touch with my insanity, there really is no other way" - Jimmy Buffett


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