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September 27, 2005

Taunting the Tauntable, Part 17,443

My existence in the world, as well as the newsworthiness of my "Being Poor" article has apparently sorely affronted this person, who has many bad things to say about me. Apparently what's provoked her ire is that the AP piece about me ran in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. I suppose no one should tell her the piece ran in several dozen other newspapers worldwide, and that the entry itself was reprinted in the Chicago Tribune, the Dayton Daily News and several other papers. Her poor little apoplectic head might pop right off.

If I remember correctly, this is the same person to whom I gave a "C" grade to in the original Being Poor comments for her flamage, and whose posting I used as the baseline for reasonably adequate contemptuous jackass snark, warning others that additional flamage below that level of competence would be deleted (and was). At the time, she didn't seem to appreciate being the standard-bearer for that particular rhetorical category, which is a shame if you ask me. Her rhetoric hasn't improved, but I certainly appreciate her enthusiasm. Anyway, I do invite you go over and watch her spin around in tight, angry circles. It's entertaining! At least, I think so.

Posted by john at September 27, 2005 09:02 AM

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Comments

Midwestern Progressive | September 27, 2005 10:08 AM

Hm, you're "pushing socialist garbage about the so-called evils of wealth" while simultaneously pursuing wealth with great gusto and enthusiasm!

I wonder if she appreciates the irony in that.....

sxKitten | September 27, 2005 10:11 AM

So much anger ... she needs to take up yoga.

What a dreadful way to go through life.

John Scalzi | September 27, 2005 10:17 AM

Miswestern Progressive writes:

"Hm, you're 'pushing socialist garbage about the so-called evils of wealth' while simultaneously pursuing wealth with great gusto and enthusiasm!"

Well, obviously, I'm a damned hypocrite.

Steve Eley | September 27, 2005 10:17 AM

Come on, we really ought to cut her a break. After all, this is someone who personally went to New Orleans and took a census of the population remaining in the city, to get a reliable count of the number of them that were able-bodied and/or fat.

(Oh. She didn't? What the hell is she talking about, then?)

Leslie | September 27, 2005 10:27 AM

boy she sure has all the answers doesn't she?? all those foolish poor people should just listen to her and straighten right up.

Natalie | September 27, 2005 10:35 AM

I forgot that fat people aren't supposed to get hungry. I'm so glad she reminded me!

anonymous | September 27, 2005 11:00 AM

A couple entries down (I wanted to see what kind of writer she was, after all; see what else she had to say), I found this:

I have writer’s block! Aaaaggghhhh!!!
Seriously, I can’t think of anything to write.
...
Also, my boobies hurt.

Profound. See for yourself.

There seems to be so much hate and vehemence in her posting and in the comments responding to her posting, I was really taken aback. A line-by-line rebuttal of "Being Poor" completely misses the point.

Anonymous against Adhominemism

Cherie Priest | September 27, 2005 11:23 AM

Opportunities ... for ... snark ... overhwelming!
Am dazzled and paralyzed by copious mockery options.

Extra super bonus points to Natalie for the boobies post pick-up. Yea verily, I snorted Diet Coke upon my monitor with mirth.
;-)

John Scalzi | September 27, 2005 11:24 AM

I can't really fault her for doing a writer's block entry: Everyone who writes does one sooner or later (although they don't necessarily also mention the status of their boobs).

But yeah, I find the line-for-line fiskings of "Being Poor" generally underwhelming, hers included, as they're generally predicated on the idea that it's always the poor person's fault. There are certainly iterations in which it could be the poor person's fault, but there are equally those where it isn't. The default that it's always the poor person to blame speaks more to the person doing the fisking than anything else.

Cherie Priest | September 27, 2005 11:28 AM

Though really, if I could keep a better eye out for typos, my credibility would probably be improved. [:: headdesk ::]

Justin Anderson | September 27, 2005 11:29 AM

Well, obviously, I'm a damned hypocrite.

Let's not forget that you also claim to be "some sort of libertarian".

John Scalzi | September 27, 2005 11:41 AM

Justin:

In the words of Instapundit: "Heh. Indeed."

Steve Brady | September 27, 2005 11:42 AM

Money for nothing and your chicks (so to speak — the interviewer is a woman) for free.

John, you devil.

mythago | September 27, 2005 11:46 AM

Hey, this is probably the most attention her blog has gotten in ages. She should be tearily thanking you.

Somehow I don't think a blog called "Spleenville" is apt to be much on the penetrating social analysis and deep thought end of the spectrum.

John Scalzi | September 27, 2005 11:48 AM

As opposed to "Whatever"?

Steve Brady | September 27, 2005 11:58 AM

"Whatever" is okay. "Whatever." now, that's obviously not doing anyone any good.

Ken | September 27, 2005 11:59 AM

If you want to understand this person, look no farther than The Rules for contributing to her site. I'm tempted to see how much traffic she gets or her technorati rank, but not enough to actually do it.

My favorite rule is the last one: She reserves the right to edit comments made on her posts to prevent anyone from embarrassing themselves. A shame that she has no one to do the same for her.

mythago | September 27, 2005 12:01 PM

As opposed to "Whatever"?

"Whatever" doesn't say "The whole point of this blog is to have a big angry tantrum" in quite the way "Spleenville" does, I'm sorry to say, John.

John Scalzi | September 27, 2005 12:02 PM

Ach. There is that.

Ken:

"If you want to understand this person, look no farther than The Rules for contributing to her site."

Well, you know. You wouldn't want the undesirables to come in. Like, say, anyone who might possibly disagree with you on anything at all.

Dan-o | September 27, 2005 12:21 PM

She sounds hot!

Ken | September 27, 2005 12:43 PM

"You wouldn't want the undesirables to come in. Like, say, anyone who might possibly disagree with you on anything at all."


For me it's just another telling sign that most people don't really understand what the whole "blog" thing is about. If she wants to rant, fine, but why pretend that she really wants any comments back (unless they are agreeing with her)? And if you disagree, that's no problem, she'll just tweak your message to bring you in line.

Okay, I've wasted enough time on her. I have to come up with a SciFi cliche...

Tor | September 27, 2005 12:58 PM

Given the amount of traffic here, and the fact that she has now twice tried to attack you, I find it interesting that there aren't any comments disagreeing with her over there. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that all 'first comments' are moderated. I wonder if my comment will show up there after being 'moderated.' Or what it will look like after the moderation process.

Of course, she has the perfect right to keep dissenting views off her blog - she's the "Ruling Soviet" over there, according to The Rules of her blog. And that worked out so well for the last holders of the title.

On second thought, perhaps I have read her wrong. If she does, in fact, view herself as the "Ruling Soviet" - perhaps her issue with 'Being Poor' is that there is no poverty under communism. If we all just submitted to the collective will, chaotic evacuations, overweight people and poverty would be in the past...

Emily | September 27, 2005 01:13 PM

Remember, kids, winning an argument on the internet still means you're a moron.

I find these sort of "taking to my own blog" arguments hilarious because her comments are nothing but people who agree with her and your comments are people who think she's a moron.

Which she is, but that's neither here nor there.

(I just wanted to add that a side effect of that post you wrote and everyone's reactions to it has made me even more grateful than I already was to be lucky and healthy and smart. I will (knocking on wood here) never be in a situation where I am looked down upon by those people who consider the poor to be lazy and worthless and dependant entirely upon welfare. And for that, I am grateful.

There but for the grace of God go I, so they say.)

John Scalzi | September 27, 2005 01:21 PM

Emily writes:

"I find these sort of 'taking to my own blog' arguments hilarious because her comments are nothing but people who agree with her and your comments are people who think she's a moron."

So far. However, someone can come here and take her side and I won't "moderate" their post for content first. Which is to say I don't mind dissent; I even find it healthy. I wonder if she does.

Emily | September 27, 2005 01:37 PM

Considering I can't even comment on her site without giving up my email address to have a password sent to me, I somehow doubt it.

I really like when even healthy discussion and dissent are moderated in people's blogs. And by "like", I mean "find appalling".

It smacks of "this is my house and I can say whatever I want so GET OUT." How very mature.

Anonymous | September 27, 2005 02:24 PM

On second thought, perhaps I have read her wrong. If she does, in fact, view herself as the "Ruling Soviet" - perhaps her issue with 'Being Poor' is that there is no poverty under communism. If we all just submitted to the collective will, chaotic evacuations, overweight people and poverty would be in the past... Naw that's not it at all. If we all just had good characters, the poverty that Scalzi describes would be in the past. It's not our fault, it's their fault that they're "lazy and dumb". And I think she's reading into Scalzi a guilt over being wealthy. She strikes me more as a free market zealot, but I haven't read enough to know for sure.

Being priviledged means that I have a "mental illness" rather than a "character flaw". Being priviledged means that I can afford the medication that might be doing nothing, might be doing a great deal, but I am doing much better now thanks. Being priviledged means that in the couple of years it took me to get my head together, in the couple of years I was lazy, and could not support myself, my family could afford to support me. (Being Canadian means that the taxpayers pay for my psychiatrist, and as I am now gainfully employed, they're getting their money's worth).

RooK | September 27, 2005 02:28 PM

Maybe the draconian limitations on commenting on her site is just an excuse to keep the traffic down to a level where a person with a day job has a chance of keeping the place reasonably tidy?
...At least, that's the excuse I use - to avoid having to admit that I'm just not that popular.

That being said, I still don't quite grasp what her issues are with Being Poor. I mean, it's an opinion piece about an under-represented perspective, not an indictment. N'est-ce pas?

Tor | September 27, 2005 02:44 PM

My theory is that her issue with 'Being Poor' is that she sees it as an attack on the preznit and Brownie. The fact that 1,000 people died is their own damn fault (she was poor too, and hasn't drowned), and the liberals think the poor of NOLA should have been 'airlift[ed] ... to the Honolulu Hilton.' She is so determined to buy into the myth that Bush Co. can do no wrong, that any criticism of the regime must be subjected to immediate attack.

Reasonable people can disagree about some things. In this case, she just looks like an idiot.

John H | September 27, 2005 04:31 PM

She thinks that she knows what it's like to be poor because she ate ramen noodles in college and didn't have a/c growing up. There is a difference between being broke and being poor, but apparently she doesn't understand that. I truly hope she never has to find out first hand what it's like.

(For the record, I don't know what it's like either. I'm just wise enough to realize how lucky I am...)

Night Dog | September 27, 2005 04:57 PM

I see "meanness" written all over that site.

Some people are just like that -- they never do anything constructive or helpful to anyone else because they're too busy being mean.

What a sad case.

Kathryn Cramer | September 27, 2005 05:10 PM

She should be put on corpse recovery duty in some of the areas that haven't been gotten to yet in some place like Chalmette where only the Fish and Wildlife Service showed up to help with the rescue.

JonathanMoeller | September 27, 2005 05:11 PM

On behalf of the beer-swigging and Grand Theft Auto playing general populace, I would like to point out that some of us, in fact, prefer lager and Halo 2.

It is also our opinion that the further you go into politics, the more and more your soul becomes the property of Satan and other Infernal Powers (tm), until you become Living Dead and impervious to conventional weaponry.

Therefore all politicians should be required to shave with silver razors.

Tor | September 27, 2005 06:05 PM

he he - I finally got through the defenses of the Ruling Soviet and can post at will. We'll see how long my posts last.

Unsub13

David Klecha | September 27, 2005 06:21 PM

I think most of what she says, other than the Scalzi-centered invective, can be boiled down to: "Poverty does not ennoble the poor." Which is true, and if the whole point of "Being Poor" were to suggest the opposite, I guess I might be able to see her point. And, if read in really poor lighting, I might see how the overall point of "Being Poor" could possibly have been just such a statement.

In order to get that, though, I think you have to be in the oppositional mindset going in--Dems versus Reps, and if the Dems are going to be on the side of the poor, then By Ghu, I'm going to hate on them.

Some blogs are getting to be pure partisan propoganda, and that's the lens some are looking through when anyone else says anything that doesn't involve the cuteness of one's cats, children, etc.

Joshbw | September 27, 2005 07:58 PM

From her blog:
“an owl feels for a blind puppy in the dark” sort of pity*
*c.f. Ambrose Bierce

I find it amusing that she quotes someone who was renown for being outspoken against the ignorance and corruption of politicians (and was damn funny in the process of doing so) and yet can be such a supporter of one of our most ignorant and corrupt politicians.

Anna Feruglio Dal Dan | September 28, 2005 05:47 AM

After reading her post, and just the one, I don't feel like taking issue with her opinions. I feel like trying to tell her in a not-antagonizing way that life is really, truly much more worth living, full of love and joy, once you let go of the contempt. Been there, done that. But I don't think she'll listen.

John Scalzi | September 28, 2005 08:32 AM

No, Anna, I doubt if she would. She's having too much fun being a butthead.

Anonymous | September 28, 2005 09:32 AM

Tor/Unsub13: I'm not going to bother signing up for the privilege of posting to her blog (it's bad enough I keep adding to her traffic by reading the latest comments), but I would like to offer you ammo if you're going to continue posting there.

One of the memes they seem to be latching onto over there is about the unused buses and train. At best, the school buses and train (there was only the one that I know of) would have allowed 25,000 people to leave the city. There still would have been several times that many trapped in the city with no way out.

Dean | September 28, 2005 01:53 PM

Her final answer on the comment thread:

You know, having read through the patronizing, smug, self-pitying dribblings of Unsub, Fire, and josh, all I feel is a haze of utter ennui. Is this the best you can do? Bored now.

Draw your own conclusions.

John Scalzi | September 28, 2005 01:57 PM

Well, of course she's claiming boredom. She's being asked to think.

Tor | September 28, 2005 04:04 PM

Yeah - I've had enough discussions with her type to know that nothing I say will get through. I was mostly just curious whether I could post something ambiguous enough to get past the 'first post' moderation, so that I could post at will. Now that I can, the fact that discussing this with her is a huge waste of time is even more clear. There's nothing more frustrating that talking with someone who doesn't know the difference between feeling 'bored,' and embarrassed for themselves.

Tor | September 28, 2005 04:08 PM

Heh - and she deleted my 'membership' to spleenville. Anything to try to deal with the 'ennui' I suppose...

John Scalzi | September 28, 2005 05:06 PM

Yes, apparently she doesn't want to waste her beautiful mind on the likes of you. Shoo, shoo.

Dean | September 28, 2005 05:17 PM

Anybody who's hung around USENET for any length of time knows that 'bored' almost invariably means 'out of ammunition'.

John Scalzi | September 28, 2005 05:34 PM

Now, now, Dean. It doesn't do anyone any harm to let her think she's come out ahead in this. Let her swill around in the warmth of her own self-satisfaction.

Mitch Wagner | September 28, 2005 06:20 PM

She doesn't seem to have actually read "Being Poor."

She describes that essay as being a bunch of whining about growing up in a family that fails to meet the "Ozzie and Harriet" ideal, and not having toys and video games.

And there was a little of that in there. There were some trivial complaints. But the essay also describes living without enough money for food, medical and dental care, clothing, and utilities, and feeling ashamed of yourself for those things.

John Scalzi | September 28, 2005 06:42 PM

Mitch Wagner writes:

"She doesn't seem to have actually read 'Being Poor.'"

This would explain why her fisking of it was so lame.

I do have to say that I've been generally unhappy with the fiskings the piece has gotten. I've seen several, and their end result is to make the fisker look like an ass. Which of course is the opposite of what a good fisking should do. There have been a couple of decent "being rich" parodies I've seen, but for sheer entertainment value, the "being poor" fiskings have been a real let down. Oh, well.

Mitch Wagner | September 28, 2005 10:07 PM

The author of Spleenville is the author of this post, where she proclaims she "can't get too worked up about" the famous photo of the little Vietnamese girl burned by napalm. She also praises Relapsed Catholic, where the author condemns a Canadian magazine for perpetuating the (apparently wrong) information that the napalm was dropped by Americans. The Canadian magazine had perfectly good reason to believe that the napalm was dropped by American planes; an American military officer named John Plummer said he did it; but that reason isn't good enough for Relapsed Catholic or, apparently, for Spleenville.

Apparently, Plummer was wrong; the napalm was dropped by Vietnamese planes.

Oh. I guess that makes it okay, then.

darren | September 29, 2005 11:01 AM

How old is this gal? From what I've read of her she seems to have the mind of a spoiled teenie-bopper. Her whole "I'm gonna delete yer post cuz yer stoopid" and thinking she's won an arguement because she's "bored" just screams seventh grader who has never wanted for anything.

David Moles | September 29, 2005 01:16 PM

Miss “so many of the people ‘abandoned’ in the city were able-bodied men and women who should have been able to take care of themselves instead of acting like babies” might be interested to know that 23.2% of New Orleans residents were, apparently, disabled.

Of course, I'm sure she'd say they brought it on themselves.

John Scalzi | September 29, 2005 08:00 PM

Hush, David. Don't muddy her indignation with facts!

SaraS | September 30, 2005 09:13 AM

What I don't get is that so much of the criticism of "Being Poor" talks about how people can stop being poor if they want to. Seeing as the original piece was written by someone who WAS poor, but NO LONGER IS, I'm not quite sure why they believe that the essay is somehow encouraging people to remain poor. Obviously one can do all the things listed in the essay, and yet STILL manage to get out of poverty. Does every single essay written about poverty need to include advice about how to escape poverty?

Incidentally, I'm one of those people who have never experienced being poor...the essay was a real eye-opener and I appreciate it. I'm also becoming very embarrased by the behavior of all these other middle-class people who seem to have missed the point.

Mitch Wagner | October 1, 2005 05:34 PM

I have no experience with poverty myself, but my parents were the children of immigrants, raised during the Depression. I grew up taught to appreciate what I have, and not take it for granted.

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