09 January 2010

Lieder of the Banned

Below, in italics, is my comment that got deleted by Herr Jim (left): For context, here's the snakepit thread.

"Allow me to address the personal stuff first, because this is a recurring dance with us and you’ve kinda separated it here (which is good).

Given we’ve never met and this is a written forum, I’m sure there’s some misunderstanding from time to time, as to each other’s intentions/agendas, and think much of our disconnect is fueled by separate understandings of who “starts it”. For example, you interpret this thread as me “turning” it personal, whereas I see it as me responding to an unnecessarily deflective, dismissive and ungracious style of argumentation.

Here, I highlighted an admittedly surprising projection, as a sort of caveat to the predictable giddiness, and went out of my way to soften the point. I said good things are happening. I said it doesnt necessarily invalidate our core. I pre-empted any talk that it proved we were a bad hitting team. I just said it’s something to think about, relative to the other projections.

What’s your response? Do you acknowledge (graciously or otherwise) this painstakingly even handed point? No, you go out of your way to ignore it and bludgeon the projection as stupid. Go figure, Chone. Nothing to see here, people. Psst. Over here! Now take a look at Shelley Duncan! Pay no attention to that Bailey projection behind the curtain! Wait! Over here! Hacks wont even take my bet, disproving the projection! Move along, everyone. Our offense is fine.

If this sort of obfuscation is unintentional, then I apologize for calling your arguments dishonest. If so, they should be termed unproductive and obtuse. But having watched you distort other people’s positions and manipulate evidence, not without some facility, for several years now, I felt I should give you the benefit of the doubt :-)

Seriously, I get no pleasure out of calling your arguments dishonest. I’m not trying to say you’re a horrible person or anything. It’s more an observation, customer feedback if you will, and I guess a plea to dispassionately consider what others have to say and to clean up your rhetoric some. I think you’ve made efforts in this area, as have I, and I appreciate it. I’ll try to continue to do the same.

Regarding your link (again, since you brought it up), there’s nothing dishonest about my argument there. Everyone knows Kendrick and RJ dont get along, yet you felt compelled to make a federal case (a really weak one) over a mundane comment that “the front office may not like Randy much.” You’re obviously entitled to your opinion, or hopes or whatever, but to the extent you aggressively redirect “internal” fan commentary away from well established franchise foibles, you’ll get pushback. At least from me

-- End comment.

Here's how Jim characterized that response, after he deleted it.

'Hacks, you have been asked several times before To confine your discussion to baseball topics. As you failed to do so here, opting instead to deliver a string of ad hominem attacks, I have hidden that comment.

I look forward to your critique of paqs’ analysis

Yeah, right. Jim can casually slander dissent (and dissenters) virtually every day for three years running, but as soon as his argumentation's taken to task, it's automatically beyond the pale. Oh, the ad hominem! Funny how that works. This from a guy fond of making off color jokes about Tim Lincecum and Jackie Robinson, among others, who regularly bullies members with misinformation and threats, and who condones the same from others - all without a hint of apology.

But here, apparently, my level of ad hominem soared so high, was so inappropriate, as to warrant deletion? That's his argument. Snakepit denizens can weigh my remarks in the context of what often flies on that site, and judge for themselves. Is it truly the degree of ad hominem, or some other aspect of this criticism that Jim desperately wishes to suppress?

Ed note 1/10 - Shortly after the deletion, I posted a second comment in response to Jim's charges, to the effect it was too bad snakepit readers couldnt judge "these things" for themselves, and I linked to this page - so any interested yahoo could assess my actual comment.

Jim deleted that too. Which means his issue isnt so much that my comment is beneath snakepit. It's that he doesnt want anyone to see what I wrote. He doesnt want his flock to have access to it. He wants readers to absorb his officious little summary of what I wrote instead. The one where he absurdly shortchanges my remarks, like a Chinese information officer, then pretends to "look forward" to my baseball analysis, as if he's just a reasonable guy.

Maybe I should step back a moment. I definitely understand how someone new to this could take issue with my comment. I would too. It's more personal than what we'd normally see or condone on the most respected websites. So, I dont think it's The Economist or anything. But snakepit isnt one of the most respected websites and the comment didnt come out of the blue. It's part of a running "feud" Jim and I have waged on and off for, I guess, a couple years now, and in the context of that mutually embittered dialogue, this didnt cross the lines of decorum Jim claims. He wants people to believe that, because my remarks broke substantive ground he doesnt want brought to light.

There's very little, if any, ad hominem here. Ad hominem is where the validity of a premise is erroneously linked to an irrelevant attribute of the person advocating the premise. Key word, irrelevant. You're fat, you're ugly, therfore we shouldnt respect your opinion. I've certainly linked Jim's dismissive style of argumentation to dishonesty, but that's relevant to my point. It may not be correct, and I even inserted a conditional apology if it isn't, but it's entirely relevant.

This isnt some stranger on a messageboard who I'm calling a dishonest douchebag - it's someone whose convenient inconsistencies I've examined and pilloried for three years. It's someone I know is adept enough at expressing his own thoughts and advancing his own agenda, that it's abundantly troubling why he'd repeatedly suppress the equally (if not more) adept thoughts of others. Unless he really doesnt have an honest interest in open, intelligent dialogue.

The truth is, it's not my rudeness that fundamentally bothers Jim. It's my influence, and that of other strong, "dissenting" voices. He's afraid of where this kind of argumentation might take his fan blog. And, in the end, I'm ok with that. Well, it would be better, it would be optimal in my mind, if he gave every intelligent voice their say, but it's his blog and he has every right to limit it to those he can tolerate or handle.

What's not okay is that he's limiting it under pretense, fostering this amateurish illusion that members are judiciously sanctioned for their rudeness, rather than for what he personally deems discomforting substance. That's what he's afraid of. That this dialogue, if allowed to flourish, will push the fan blog (and his reputation) to places he doesnt want it to go. That Jim refuses to admit these distinctions publicly is a moral issue. It's okay to be afraid. It's not okay to denigrate others' character because you're afraid of their reasoned perspective. That would be, well, ad hominem.

That he wears a self aggrandizing shield of professional fairness and propriety, protecting capriciously enforced "standards" and purposely fuzzy ground rules, is another moral issue. Honesty, or lack of it, is at the heart of both.


PAUL said...

You disappear for exactly two months on the button and come out of hibernation to continue fighting with people?
Matt, why not sign up for Twitter? Plenty of people to fight with and I need my SW Capo as a reinforcement/stat zombie conduit.

Diamondhacks said...

Thx for making me laugh. I didnt realize it's been two months. All I've ever wanted to do is talk baseball, preferably Dbacks baseball, under the auspices of something other than assholes. So, I'm coming home.

I'd be lying if I said I wont miss snakepit some. They have more commenters and there are some decent conversations now. It's nice to be able to hop into some of those, without having to run your own blog.

In the puny world of online Dback fandom, snakepit is kind of like America - a dominant, relatively vibrant player with favorable natural resources, whose small minded, self satisfied "leaders" rob it of its influence and greatest pleasures. It's like America, if it were run by a capricious emperor or skinhead.

So, I'm emigrating for freer expression and fresher air. I just hope the electricity works :-)

Russell said...

If Snakepit is America does that make you Al Qaeda? If so please take those explosives out of your underpants!

Why Jim takes offence every so often is a mystery to me. Without the disagreements the 'Pit becomes a series of people trying to post as many comments as they can but without much to say outside of "I hope we win a lot of games next season."

He's a good writer just not a good editor/moderator.

Diamondhacks said...

Russell, once more you've extracted the essence by distilling out my sturm und drang. Thank you - you really should write for a living.

I'm no angel, but Jim's moodiness is an obvious detriment to his blog, and I've accomodated it too much as it is. One day you can have a respectable conversation, the next he's an obsessive troll on his own site.

Some of the baiting is obviously intentional, some it's harder to tell. But I agree that for all the talk of flame wars bringing the site down, Jim plays a huge part in that, and snakepit degrades pretty quickly without those disagreements.

He is a good writer, dedicated to learning the game, and nobody appreciates that effort more than a fellow blogger like me. We both are probably guilty, from time to time, of not granting the other sufficient respect, but I sure as hell dont owe him, or his ideas, subservience.

Al Qaeda? Hmmm. I dont really want to rule the world or hurt anyone. But a clash of civilizations has a certain appeal ;-)

Jeff said...

Jim looks an awful lot like that bear-lovin' crazy, Timothy Treadwell. If it is him, then technically he's dead, so your argument should be over now.

Diamondhacks said...

I know Jim hates Cubs, but agree it's an unbearable resemblance.

Definitely gave me paws.

Diamondhacks said...

I have to say, for not writing a word for two months, having three such distinguished visitors on my first day back is a humbling welcome.

I wont be reciprocating the gesture on your blogs, of course, because I'm a self-centered pig, but I am grateful for your interest - and friendship.

Russell said...

Amazingly I actually re-watched "Grizzly Man" last week. One of my favourite films (especially when the bears finally kill Treadwell).

Diamondhacks said...

In the trailer, he looks less like Jim - and more like Eric Byrnes!

PAUL said...

I burst out laughing at Russell's comment: "especially when the bears finally kill Treadwell."

Diamondhacks said...

Paul, you started it all with your remark about "hibernation".

Jeff said...

"Definitely gave me paws"
I'm still laughing about this... still.