Sunday, January 13, 2008

An open letter to The Moron.*

I'm not sure I've ever written a SHAMblog item aimed at a specific visitor/reader. To me, such carping seems beneath the general level at which business is done on this blog—and also strikes me as a form of bullying, since I'm the one with the power of the pulpit. But it's a Sunday—the day of pulpits—and also a day when, if I post at all, it's typically on more personal/offbeat subjects. So it's as good a time as any to address an annoying behind-the scenes situation that I've never really dealt with.

Regular readers know that I often invoke my father as a beacon of wit and wisdom. I had great love and admiration for my dad, who was one of those men of his generation who basically got screwed by life, but never took out his frustrations on those around him; he bore his disappointments with dignity and reserve, and still managed to build a pretty good life for himself and, especially, his family. Most recently, for example, I wrote an essay around Dad's advice in matters of happiness, which ended up running in several major newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal.

Here's something else Dad once told me: "People who go out of their way to try to embarrass other people usually end up embarrassing only themselves."

You know who you are, Moron. Your anonymous and inappropriate sniping at me and other regular contributors to this forum is not going to see light of day—so why not stop making a platinum-plated ass of yourself and find some other outlet for your pettiness, mean-spiritedness, and utter lack of intellectual capacity. Nuff said? We shall hope.

To the rest of our community, my apologies for involving you in this bit of nastiness.

* No offense is intended to actual morons and idiots. I've met a handful in the course of my years in writing and youth coaching, and they were always very nice people.


Carl said...

Hey Steve! Great putdown, no need to apolgize to us, now where can I get the T-shirt!

Cosmic Connie said...

Steve, after the junior high-esh yet oddly disturbing stuff I've been dealing with on my blog this past week, I definitely feel your pain. I'm with Carl on this one; no need to apologize.

PlanGuy said...


I've been a reader since I found your blog linked from in late 2005.

Your post speaks to the reason it took me until 2008 to wade into online publishing.

I think this forum will survive as long as there is a way to keep the noise down to enable a healthy spirit of intellectual debate.

There is also a very real security concern. Was the post about your affinity with firearms at all related? When I moved to Texas it was a bit of shock for me because I was not used to having shotguns lying around in closets and lockers. Previously, I was very uncomfortable around firearms, but I am learning to respect and understand them more over time.

Steve Salerno said...

PlanGuy, thanks for sticking with us all this time. No--if I get your drift--I can't say that my remarks on firearms were consciously related, at all, to the problem I've been having. (But subconsciously? Who knows.) And in truth, I'd have to say that compared to some of the sniping I encountered back at the beginning of SHAMblog--when my book was new, and there was clearly an organized backlash from the self-help community--the current situation doesn't present that much of a day-to-day challenge. But have you ever just reached the point where you've "had it" with somebody? Where you were sick and tired of having to deal with the childish nonsense? I guess that's where I was when I wrote the post. And of course, the anonymity of the internet, and the fuzziness of the law regarding such matters as online harassment, only make other forms of recourse that much more difficult.

Connie can tell you all about that, too.

a/good/lysstener said...

Wow, when I first read that I thought you were being kind of tough and even, yes, nasty. But I can only imagine the things some people must say to you from time to time in emails. I'm sure you will recall (if only b/c you got dragged into it) I went through this with my own blog back in the day when I actually used to write it. :-)

Hang in there, Steve!

Cosmic Connie said...

I agree with Alyssa, Steve.

And Alyssa, you need to be blogging too. Maybe it's time to dust some of the cobwebs off your blog and get it started again.

Mary Anne said...

Steve, I was actually going to e-mail you about how I am bit frightened of posting on your blog. I've had an encounter that scared me after a post due to the fact the person lived within my area. That person took everything I posted personally and started following me on the web. I may read your blog, but I have my doubts about posting too much.

Steve Salerno said...

That's a damn shame, Mary Anne. You would think that in this country, of all places, people would understand and respect the right to differences of opinion, without turning any of it into a grudge match or vendetta.

And by the way--before anyone brings it up in "gotcha!" fashion--there is NO contradiction between my belief in free expression and my decision to ban this person's voice from the blog. Number one, everything this person says is ad hominem. Number two, I'm not even sure that this person is interested in seeing the stuff on the blog; it's more a matter of getting my goat and/or trying to sully the reputations of some of our contributors. Finally, I'm not going to fall into the old sophist trap that goes, "If you're really open-minded, then you'll be open-minded about my commitment to making you close-minded." That's like saying that a democracy should be open to the idea of people who say there shouldn't be democracy. It's one of those places where straight-line logic breaks down, and you have to employ common sense. At least that's how I see it.

RevRon's Rants said...

Steve - Even those of us with reputations already thoroughly sullied still appreciate the filtering of ad hominem attacks from your forum. :-)

Such attacks are nothing more than mental masturbation, and serve no purpose save to assuage the obviously fragile ego of the offending commenter. And, like pretty much any other form of self-gratification, such activities are best engaged in private, or at most, before a willing audience which has expressed a desire to witness them. As far as I know, you haven't established this blog as a venue for psycho-kink. But you know what they say about online personas! :-)

Cosmic Connie said...

Mary Anne: I think I understand something of what you are going through. I see you have changed your blog from being publicly available to being for invited readers only, so what has been happening to you must have been pretty scary.

As I've noted, I've gone through some squirrelly things too with my blog. In my case I realize that by the very nature of my blog I leave myself open to angry responses, and for the most part they are n.b.d. Some go a bit beyond anger, though, and all I can say is that I am glad I have Ron, assorted firearms, and, of course, Rex the Farting Dog for extra protection. (And I'm emphatically not a "gun person" myself. But I still support the right of responsible people such as Ron to own firearms.)

Steve, I see no inconsistency between your advocacy of open discourse and your choice to exercise limits on what you publish. A little earlier today I rejected several comments to my blog because they would have stirred up too much crap, and I've already dealt with more than enough these past few days.

Steve Salerno said...

NOTE to Mary Anne: I got your most recent comment, which I am withholding for now because of its sensitive nature. (I am assuming that you don't mind my saying this, since apparently you were willing to have me publish the comment itself.) I had no other way of contacting you, given that your blog is now private, but I urge you to email me directly and give me a bit more background. The circumstances would seem to warrant that.

It's your call, obviously.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I (and doubtless other faithful readers) remember the advent and demise of "The Professor" on your blog a year or so ago. His purpose also appeared to be to turn SHAMblog into a staging area for himself. Could "The Moron" be the same guy in a new guise?

Steve Salerno said...

1. Don't ask me why, but I don't think it's a guy.
2. No way this is the Professor; not unless he suddenly dropped about 120 IQ points. You could say a lot of things about old Prof, but at least he was literate and stylish, in his own chronically irritating way.