Let’s Play a Game

[CORRECTION. I MADE A MISTAKE. PZ MYERS DID NOT WRITE THE ORIGINAL POST, BUT ONLY LINKED TO IT. SCOTT LYNCH WROTE THE ORIGINAL. PZ MYERS DID, HOWEVER, SUPPORT IT]

The game is called “Who’s the liar”. The answer is P.Z. Myers, who accuses Mr. Wright of lying about the incident when Patrick Nielsen Hayden cursed loudly at and insulted his wife.

For a thorough summary of Myers’ arguments and a thorough takedown you can take a look at the Verbose Stoic’s post. Here is my addition to it:

Myers’ post is a load of garbage.

I have worked with L. Jagi Lamplighter personally. She has a blog. Go and read it. And read her responses to Mr. Wright, in the post where she talks about the incident. You know what she said? Mr. Wright was exaggerating this, but only a little bit. And he was exaggerating it after getting the story from Mrs. Wright.

Her blog and her posts at superversive SF are completely non-confrontational. In fact, she tries to assume good motives, or at least fair ones, whenever possible.

She has been extraordinarily helpful to me, without me asking her, has never insulted ANYBODY involved in this (including Mr. Hayden – seriously, read her account of the event in Mr. Wright’s blog post). Accusing her of lying about this is revolting bullshit. I do not believe it for a second. And the fact that we are blaming HER for wanting to personally respond to vicious insults thrown in her face is such a dickheaded thing to say that I have lost all respect for P.Z. Myers – though to be fair, I never had any.

He is an angry fool and he should apologize to Mr. Wright immediately. But because he has no honor whatsoever, he won’t.

I find his “logic” ridiculous and insidious.

And believe me, if you knew Mrs. Wright at all you’d agree with me.

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16 Responses to Let’s Play a Game

  1. verbosestoic says:

    Just a quick note here: Scott Lynch is the one who calls her a liar. Myers just links to it approvingly but doesn’t actually SAY anything himself, this time.

  2. Andy says:

    Imagine that I would write the following about your post here:
    “Malcolm the Cynic wrote an unhinged, frothing-at-the-mouth mad diatribe, saturated with vile invective and curses, about poor little Paul Zachary Myers!”
    And you´d reply:
    “Andy is lying, look at what I´ve actually written and you´ll see that Andy´s description has *nothing* to do with my actualy words – he made this up out of thin air.”
    And some third party, lets call him concise stoic, chimes in and says:
    “Andy was not lying, Malcolm concedes that he did wrote something about PZ Myers, so Andy´s charge was evidently not purely fabricated, and Malcolm further concedes that he did insult PZ by calling him a “fool”, so at most, Andy might have exaggerated a teeny tiny bit, but the core of his charge was spot on!”

    Do you think that concise stoic´s evaluation here would be fair, unbiased and accurate?

    Regarding Wright´s wife, I wouldn´t call her a liar, but if she says that this:
    “Mr. Hayden erupted into a swearing and cursing, and he shouted and bellowed at the tiny and cheerful woman I married.”
    is a truthful if slightly accurate summary of this:
    “When PNH realized who Lamplighter was, he said (closely paraphrased): “I’m a practicing Catholic, and I found your husband’s comments about me hurtful. His comments about Moshe Feder were the next thing to Blood Libel. I don’t want to talk to you, and please tell John C. Wright to shove his opinions up his ass.”
    After PNH sat down, Lamplighter attempted to re-engage him in conversation twice despite his repeated declarations that he didn’t want anything to do with her. Mixon finally said, “Can’t you understand that he doesn’t want to talk to you?” and Lamplighter took the hint at last.”
    – than her assessment is utterly ludicrous and is only understandable (but not excusable) by her desire to protect her lying husband.

    • Andy says:

      “truthful if slightly accurate” should have been “truthful if slightly exaggerated” of course

    • Right, but that is not what PNH said, I do not believe him if he says that this is what he said, John’s exaggeration was mild at best, and Mrs. Wright’s only major objection to Mr. Wright’s post is that he exaggerated how loud he was.

      That is my point: I think (not Myers originally, actually, and I did totally forget to change it, which is a big deal and which I will do now) that the characterization of PNH calmly talking to her like this is wrong.

      For that matter, even if it wasn’t, it’s pretty crappy that he would say such a thing to Mr. Wright’s WIFE, and refuse to let her respond to it at all (then have other people apparently make it out that SHE had the problem here), is pretty much inappropriate enough anyway.

      As for my post as a “foaming at the mouth rant”, well, anybody can categorize it how they want to. They’d be wrong, but they could do it.

      • Andy says:

        As for my post as a “foaming at the mouth rant”, well, anybody can categorize it how they want to. They’d be wrong…

        Wrong? Wouldn´t they rather be mildly exaggerating, at best?

        I do not believe him if he says that this is what he said, John’s exaggeration was mild at best, and Mrs. Wright’s only major objection to Mr. Wright’s post is that he exaggerated how loud he was

        He didn´t say anything about the matter afaict. And even if he did, whether you believe him or not is completely beside the point. The point is that plenty of people *would* have noticed Hayden – the single most recognizable person in the room – losing it, yet no one did. NO ONE at the event in question corrobates that Hayden was “shouting” at her, “bellowing” at her or “cursing” at her or using any “profanities” (plural) except for the word “ass” (and even that one profanity was not used as an insult directed against Mrs. Wright, but rather merely used to underscore that Hayden does not want ANYTHING to do with her husband or anyone associated with him in any way). But there are witnesses that completely contradict the account reported by the Wrights.

        For that matter, even if it wasn’t, it’s pretty crappy that he would say such a thing to Mr. Wright’s WIFE, and refuse to let her respond to it at all (then have other people apparently make it out that SHE had the problem here), is pretty much inappropriate enough anyway.

        In your opinion maybe. I find it very much inappropriate for Mrs. Wright to approach Hayden with any words other than “I´m sorry for my husband, he´s got an anger management problem”, and even more inappropriate for her to keep pestering him after he made it more than clear that he does not want anything to do with her husband or anyone associated with him – she´s not entitled to his attention but he is entitled to choose which company to keep and which to avoid.

      • In your opinion maybe. I find it very much inappropriate for Mrs. Wright to approach Hayden with any words other than “I´m sorry for my husband, he´s got an anger management problem”, and even more inappropriate for her to keep pestering him after he made it more than clear that he does not want anything to do with her husband or anyone associated with him – she´s not entitled to his attention but he is entitled to choose which company to keep and which to avoid.

        Got it. He can get in her face, insult her husband, and walk away without allowing her to respond, while her husband who he ACTUALLY should have addressed was across the room, and her response SHOULD HAVE been to apologize to HIM for her HUSBAND’S anger management problems.

        These “contrary accounts” appeared several months after the fact, by the way.

        Look, dude, you don’t need to believe her. I do. And so I will call out a person who accuses her husband (her by extension) of lying.

      • Andy says:

        Got it. He can get in her face [1], insult her husband [2], and walk away without allowing her to respond [3], while her husband who he ACTUALLY should have addressed [4] was across the room, and her response SHOULD HAVE been to apologize to HIM for her HUSBAND’S anger management problems.

        1. If all that “get in her face” means is telling her that he wants nothing to do with her husband or anyone associated with him, then yes, most emphatically YES. Where are you getting the idea from that you are entitled to someone else´s attention if he does not want to talk to you?
        2. “Tell x that he can shove his opinions up his ass” is more of a graphic description for why you want nothing to do with x rather than an insult against x.
        3. Srsly? If I tell you that I want nothing to do with you because [insert reason here] and walk away, then you have the right to follow me and keep confronting me about those stated reasons while I have no right to choose to not talk to you? Where does this sense of entitlement come from?
        4. So he should have just ignored her, walk over to her husband, and tell him something along the line of “Mr. Wright, I don´t give a rat´s ass about your opinions, I wouldn´t piss on your gums if your teeth were on fire and I´d rather have my balls stapled than spend time with you or anyone close to you. You know that of course, but your wife apparently does not, please inform her about this – I couldn´t tell her myself because… something.”?

        These “contrary accounts” appeared several months after the fact, by the way.

        Which I don´t find surprising because the community as a whole seems to have close to zero interest in talking with Wright or about him.
        What I would find very surprising though is that indeed NO ONE what-so-ever except for Mrs. Wright noticed Hayden – the single most recognizable face in the room – losing it, this is incredibly implausible. And since the scenario where he didn´t lose it, didn´t shout, bellow or curse at Mrs.Wright, is the one that is actually supported by third party witnesses – you have to be *extremely* biased to confidently assert that the Wrights are right, plausibility of their story be damned and the witnesses that contradict them are lying.

      • Yeah, where I am now, I’m kind of tired, and there isn’t much I can do except to say that I would dispute basically every point in this post, and that what particularly stands out to me is this bizarre idea that you can go up to someone and insult their husband and then somehow end up with the moral high ground.

      • Andy says:

        what particularly stands out to me is this bizarre idea that you can go up to someone and insult their husband and then somehow end up with the moral high ground

        That idea would indeed be bizarre, it has literally nothing what-so-ever to do with what actually happened though. He didn´t go up to her, she approached him. And he did something that he was perfectly entitled to do – tell her that he doesn´t want to talk to her and wants nothing to do with her husband. And the only one who tried to claim the moral high ground are the Wrights FFS. Hayden didn´t mention his issue at all afterwards and people who defended him are not saying that he had the moral high ground (what he did was morally completely neutral), they are only saying that the Wrights account is ridiculously implausible, not corrobated by anything, and flat out contradicted by third party witnesses.

      • BTW, Andy – for the record however angry I seem to get at you in any given post, I actually generally appreciate and respect you responding to me. You tend to be polite, and I know it’s somewhat daunting to go somewhere where you’ll probably be received badly and make your case anyway. So I do respect you for that, at least.

    • verbosestoic says:

      Do you think that concise stoic´s evaluation here would be fair, unbiased and accurate?

      Well, since you felt the need to draw attention to my post here, I presume that you read it, correct? If so, then perhaps you can answer these questions, which I used to argue over whether or not Wright’s account was a complete fabrication or not:

      What part of that do you think that Lynch ought to be focusing on if he wanted to claim that Wright was a liar? That he didn’t cut off her attempt to extent the olive branch? That he didn’t swear and curse? That he was open and not at all hostile to the attempt?

      As I pointed out in the post, all of these are true in the paraphrase. He cut her off. He swore in it and since that was only a paraphrase it is likely, given the hostile nature of the reply, that he swore more than was in the paraphrase. He was not open to the attempt and was indeed completely hostile. The MOST you can get from the accounts is that he didn’t shout all that loudly, and MAYBE that the swearing wasn’t as bad as Wright — not Mrs. Wright — implies.

      Remember, Lynch argued this:

      This is a load of crap. Having heard Patrick’s (hereafter also referred to as “PNH”) version of these events directly, and the version reported by several others, I say without hesitation or qualification that John C. Wright is a liar.

      That’s not enough to call him a liar over this, don’t you agree?

      I wouldn’t say the same in the case you’ve given because, well, the original post didn’t actually contain anything like what that person said, and certainly not in the important properties. Again, in Lynch’s post all he had was the volume and maybe volume of swearing, but it’s clear that Wright is more upset about Hayden treating his wife rudely and in a hostile manner just for trying to broker a peace between the two. Lynch’s arguments do NOTHING to refute that, which is the key point.

      • Andy says:

        The MOST you can get from the accounts is that he didn’t shout all that loudly, and MAYBE that the swearing wasn’t as bad as Wright — not Mrs. Wright — implies.

        No. The most that one can get from those accounts (by “most” I presume what you would get from those accounts if they are indeed trustworthy), would be that Hayden didn´t shout at Mrs. Wright at all, didn´t curse at Mrs. Wright at all, and used a single profanity – and not as an insult directed against Mrs. Wright, but rather as a graphic expression for WHY he is cutting off the conversation (which he was perfectly entitled to do – he has the right to chose which company to keep and which to avoid and Mrs. Wright is not entitled to his attention if he is not interested in interacting with her).

        That’s not enough to call him a liar over this, don’t you agree?

        I do not. If the account corrobated by third party witnesses is indeed largely true, then this:
        “Mr. Hayden erupted into a swearing and cursing, and he shouted and bellowed at the tiny and cheerful woman I married.”
        – is not just a “mere exaggeration” of what actually happened. It is flat out false in some respects and exaggerated beyond recognition in others. If Wright´s characterization would have been what happened, then any decent person would agree that Hayden´s behavior was absolutely reprehensible. But if the other account is true, then I doubt you could find even just a single neutral person (i.e. someone who has no sympathies or aversions to *both* Wright and Hayden) who would call Hayden´s behaviour reprensible at all.

      • verbosestoic says:

        – is not just a “mere exaggeration” of what actually happened. It is flat out false in some respects and exaggerated beyond recognition in others.

        Well, if you want to claim that that still makes him a “liar”, recall this from Lynch’s post:

        I have decided to weigh in with a reminder that the narrative Wright wants to push is an absolute full-blown fabrication.

        Which, you just admitted, is not the case (exaggerations aren’t full-blown fabrications).

        But this is getting into semantic wrangling. The key here is that you are mixing justifiability with truth and/or accuracy of the account. The important thing is that Wright is angry over how Hayden treated his wife, and you seem to be trying to argue that he ought not have been. What’s important to this for Wright and for Malcolm in his post is that Mrs. Wright went to talk to Hayden with the best of intentions and they feel that Hayden treated her unacceptably rudely. Keeping that in mind, let’s look at what’s completely unambiguous from Hayden’s account:

        1) When she tried to talk to him, Hayden cut her off as soon as he figured out who she was. He could at least have let her finish her sentence/appeal.

        2) Even if he felt the need to cut her off, he didn’t do so politely and respectfully. For example, he could have merely said “I find what your husband said to be reprehensible, and have no interest in discussing it anymore”. Instead, his response has to be considered, by all reasonable parties, as at least angry and hostile.

        3) He told her to give a hostile message to Wright himself that included swearing. Again, he could have simply said that he didn’t want to discuss it.

        4) Most damningly, he responded that HE DIDN’T WANT TO TALK TO HER. Not her husband, who actually SAID those things, but her, whom he has no evidence agreed with those things or would ever say them herself. Thus, he directly attacked HER in his response, despite, as far as anyone knows, her not actually being INVOLVED in the dispute.

        Is what Hayden did “reprehensible”? Well, I’m not going to call it that. I WILL argue that Wright and his wife were probably right to be upset by what Hayden said there, and certainly had more right to be upset than Hayden was. And it is THIS part of the exchange that Lynch needs to address if he wants to consider the event a full-blown fabrication or that Wright is an unqualified liar here rather than someone who got angry and exaggerated — even strongly — some of the details of an event while the overall details still support the important take-away Wright seems to want us to take from the event.

        I don’t hold exaggerations made in rants against the person ranting, as long as the main details hold true. I don’t really hold that against Lynch either, except that he definitely exaggerates the claim …and then the only evidence he provides is in no way sufficient to establish even a WEAKER form of that criticism (when he’s not just plain wrong, as my analysis of the Hugo awards showed).

        But if the other account is true, then I doubt you could find even just a single neutral person (i.e. someone who has no sympathies or aversions to *both* Wright and Hayden) who would call Hayden´s behaviour reprensible at all.

        Depending on what you mean by “reprehensible at all”, I wouldn’t have to look far for that if it means “at all rude and worthy of getting upset at”, because I have no dog in this hunt, and do think that, which is one of the reasons for the post in the first place: the arguments are just plain BAD when trying to support a strong claim like “Wright is a liar!”. Wright, for all his exaggerations, certainly has a case for saying that Hayden reacted in a hostile and angry manner that was totally out-of-line given Mrs. Wright’s behaviour and character, which seems to be the main point that both Wright and Malcolm are after.

      • Verbosestoic is correct about my point, which I consider in all fairness to be at a justifiable level considering the level of accusation I’m responding to.

        If Lynch happens to think accusations of lying to be over the top, well, kettle, meet pot.

  3. Randy P. says:

    Because she has the wrong political and/or social views, Malcolm. That means she is can never not be at fault in anything she does. This poster doesn’t even have to have met her to know she’s a liar. It’s an amazing gift these in the “community” have.

    You will never get through to these people.

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