LNH: Sexuality and Assumptions

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 29 16:07:23 PDT 2009

On Sep 30, 12:04 am, Tom Russell <milos_par... at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Oh, for the love of...
> If I was angry, Martin, it was because you went public with private
> details, and because you presented them in such a way that made Jamie
> and I, but in particular myself, an over-reaching, tyrannical,
> intrusive control-freak, and that I had _demanded_ changes to your
> story instead of offering suggestions and advice.  A characterization
> that I think is untrue; others who are working on Eightfold stories
> would, indeed, likely disagree with that characterization.

Oh but you weren't bitter about it at all, right?  And certainly not
to this day.

> But, you know what, Martin?  I'm going to buckle down, finally, and
> admit it: you're absolutely right.
> You argue that my reviews were "vindictive".  That would include, I
> assume, the positive reviews of Superfreaks?  The ones where I praised
> your detail work?  The courtship of Edward and Mary that I found so
> entertaining?  Those were vindictive, right?  That was me saying,
> "boy, I'm going to show him!"  It couldn't possibly be that I found
> those stories to be better-written than the ones that got negative
> reviews, that they had more of the things I like and less of the
> things I didn't?  No, they must have all been written in a years-long
> white-hot rage, I just wrote the positive ones to confuse you.

You told me in e-mail that at least one person who was thinking of
writing for 8FOLD changed his mind, supposedly because I had written
what I wrote and you blamed me -your words not mine- for you and Rosen
being the only people to have written for 8FOLD.  You told me you were
too busy to write reviews for Superfreaks and then shot off a one line
review for Season 2 issues that you hadn't even read saying "some were
good and some were bad" to tell me that you had reviewed them.  Your
next "review" compared my writing to Encyclopedia Brown, said my
characters were "interchangable plot puppets" and claimed that the
solution to the mystery was pulled from out of nowhere because the
reader didn't have enough information.  Now consider the context in
which you wrote that and you'll finally see my point of view.

> I often compared the series unfavorably to LAW AND ORDER, and, if I
> recall correctly, you chaffed quite a bit at this: you were more
> influenced by CSI, so why did I keep judging it by the standard of LAW
> AND ORDER?  It certainly couldn't be that I wasn't judging it at all,
> that I was implying that my taste was more LAW AND ORDER than CSI,
> which might be a reason why I wasn't digging it?  I couldn't have been
> giving you an out, could I?  And by implying, I mean, actually saying
> the words, my taste is more LAW AND ORDER than CSI.  I shouldn't have
> left it so vague.  Like the time I sent Martin Rock to jail without a
> trial, in clear violation of civil rights (as you said again and again
> and again), where I implied that it was a bail hearing and that he had
> been remanded to custody.  And, again, by implying I mean, writing the
> words, "Martin Rock's bail hearing" and that the judge said he was
> "remanded to custody".  Boy, you really got me there.  I just wasn't
> man enough to admit it!

You accuse me of not bein g able to take criticism but you clearly
react negatively to valid criticism yourself.  This is why I would
normally be more tactful.  Sometimes it doesn't help to put all your
cards on the table.

> When I had ideas about aesthetics and human psychology that are
> completey the opposite of yours, about which there can be no
> agreement, it wasn't because we have different and diametrically-
> opposed tastes-- it's because I'm a mean, angry bastard who was
> "holding" those "opinions" just to get my revenge on you!

I'll be honest with you: I think that characterisation is a weakness
for you, not a strength.  Your writing also tends to be a bit too
melodramatic.  I'm trying to be brutally honest and yet it still comes
across as diplomatic.  I just don't have it in me to actually rip
apart anybody's writing.  Quite frankly, that's just
counterproductive: the only purposes that could serve could be to
anger the victim or else try to make oneself look clever.  The bottom
line is that no matter how much you claim now that you had never
started this argument, the fact is that there were things you valued
above friendship, whatever they may be,

> And when I stopped reviewing your stories, on the grounds that you
> thought my reviews had no validity, and that, frankly, I didn't want
> to start an argument every time I reviewed one, that totally wasn't me
> trying to salvage things, that wasn't me trying to stop things from
> blowing up, but rather a cunning plan to escalate it with the express
> purpose of having me lose the ability to write the only LNH character
> I have an interest in writing.  Bwahahahahaha!  I'm not sure why,
> exactly, I did all that, but who knows what I was thinking, so
> consumed was I by broiling rage?

Again, you had told me that you didn't have time to review my stories
because you were busy and you got angry with me when I asked why my
stories weren't being reviewed even though you had promised to review
everybody's.  (In all fairness, that was a promise you couldn't
possibly keep: it ends with you getting angry with people for posting
"too much" and accusing them of posting for the sake of posting.)  I
did everything I could to diffuse the situation by e-mail but,
frankly, I just wanted to know that somebody out there was actually
reading Superfreaks.  Having somebody read one issue after a long
break and simply tear it apart isn't the same thing.

> And when I asked that Best Flamewar be replaced by Best Discussion,
> when I said, please go ahead and post those other issues of PIGS IN
> TIME that you wrote, when I expressed sadness at what had happened to
> our friendship-- all that was just to goad you into opening it up
> again, into calling me vindictive, because there's nothing my evil,
> evil heart likes more than to argue with people in circles without any
> hope of resolution.  I think later tonight, I'm going to call my my
> racist, Republican grandfather to talk about health care reform.

For God's sake, don't look at it as good and evil.  I know you went
through some tough times with the failed mayorial campaign, your
health problems, your family problems, your job loss and God knows how
many other problems you didn't even tell us about.  Sometimes the
weight of the world seems too much and you just want to lash out.  I
suppose I should be relieved that you lashed out at me through usenet
instead of doing something really stupid out in the real world.

> You got me, Martin.  I have collapsed under the weight of your
> infallible, remarkable arguments.  You were right.  You always were
> and always are, about everything, every time.  I'm so, so sorry it
> took me so long to admit it.

An apology laced with sarcasm is no apology at all.


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