Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rather me than Jay

I feel bad that Mrs Zen will not now be able to have the holidays I promised her, the daytrips that she was excited about researching and booking.

Because I did a stupid thing, a moment's inattention, and was foolish enough to write something mean about someone horrible enough to hurt me and everyone in my life for it (although of course I didn't know that Julie Novak, or the Institute of Public Affairs, whichever caused me to lose my job, was actually small enough to want me to suffer that for writing something that no more than five people would ever have read -- and none would have cared about), Mrs Zen will be made unhappy. I feel sorry for that. She has not deserved her life. People are what they are. They do what they are capable of and sometimes that disappoints, or even angers, us, but they are still constrained by the limits of their selves.

I wonder what Ms Novak would say to Mrs Zen. She probably feels nothing more than vindication and would express that to her. How dare a nobody smear her on the web -- a "public forum" as Anna Reynolds, the woman who sacked me, put it, as pompously as I think only a corporate executive could? Of course, I am used to that "public forum" -- which is, all in all, nothing of the sort: it is accessible to the public but it is not broadcast, and, frankly, this blog isn't intended to be part of any wider debate -- and the rules that tend to govern it. I've been smeared dozens of times, and I don't mind it. I respond in kind and everyone enjoys themselves immensely.

I am reminded of a guy whose name I have forgotten. He used to post in the writing newsgroups. He wasn't very good at the combat prose that gained you kudos there. Jay something? Really, I can't remember. So he developed a new tactic: he outed people who flamed him. He would publish their names, their addresses, their telephone numbers. How sad. He had been so thoroughly defeated in the marketplace of ideas that he had to resort to that.

In my world, there is no worse thing than to be Jay something. I don't have economic power; I don't have influence, no cushy sinecure at a thinktank, no managing editorship at a newspaper; I don't even have an actual job. But I don't need to bring a knife to a battle of wits. I'm glad about that. I'd rather be me than Jay.


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