(Note: since writing this, I saw the apology JWolf sent Stelek. It doesn't surprise me that Jon did it; he seems like that kind of guy. Notice also that Jon doesn't make any distinctions about his post in the way others have for him, including me. Stelek said he thought it was appropriate for Jon to post this on Bell's frontpage, but I'm not sure I agree. The comment wasn't made there.)
Okay, Hard Boyz is done... well, except for the latest feud between Bell and YTTH.
"What?" you say. "Yes!" says I. Man, I had to pry my forehead off the table with a crowbar. I know there are some guys in Austin sorry they took the bait.
(Now, as I finish this post the deal is pretty much done, so I'm not trying to instigate anything further, but I do feel it's worth commenting on, given the direction I tend to take the blog.)
Yea, Stelek dropped a line and someone had to bite that sucker. Which is counter to what I know was the agreed-upon strategy when dealing with Stelek; that is, say nothing no matter what.
That's what the boys had to say at BOLSCON. I believe that was the right strategy: YTTH is a little fish; Bell is a big fish. The Fly Lords had zero to gain on allowing Stelek to get a rise out of them. Not that I believe Stelek was doing it deliberately, but the dude simply can't help what he is.
And there's the rub. It was PREDICTABLE. No sooner had Nick won Hard Boyz than I told all concerned that Stelek wouldn't be able to resist having a go at.... what? I really wasn't sure.
The tables were set up with similar amounts of terrain. The judges used scenarios right out of the book. I thought Stelek would bitch that any event that had Orks fighting it out on the top three tables must by definition suck; except all three Ork players lost.
So Stelek went after the army itself. There are two ways to feel about this. You're either thinking it's nitpicky to rip apart an obviously tough list or that it was useful to see how a tough list could be made better.
Understand, I'm in the second group. Nobody does list critique or building as well as Stelek, and it's what has propelled YTTH into the blogosphere so quickly. Again, words mean something: I'm saying that of the people that do it, he's the best. Sure, there are plenty of tough, smart players out there who can craft a list or a winning strategy, but Stelek is the one that DOES it. He also hasn't wavered in what he stated up front was his goal, so I have no reason to doubt his good intentions.
But he can be a horse's ass, no doubt. I think there is something in him that couldn't resist pulling the trigger. Again, it was predictable. His pseudo-intellectual arguments for why he did it are a good example of circular logic (and I say that very deliberately, not because Stelek is stupid, 'cause he ain't, but because it would have been more honest for him to say, "Man, those guys irritate the shit out of me," and then blast 'em). Think about it. Stelek doesn't like Bell masquerading as a strategy and tactics site but when one of their own wins a national tournament he's critical of how it was done. The biggest fallacy in Stelek's argument has always been his assertion that the average reader is incapable of filtering information for himself. I call bullshit on that.
It should be said that nothing Stelek posted in his 'Leaf-Blower' critique was that terrible, but it wasn't a stretch for him to realize his supporters would read into it.
I don't know - maybe I'm reading more into it than was intended, but there you go.
I actually believe Stelek is influencing the hobby in the way he wants, but this stuff takes time. I do think there is a large pool of readers who are resistant to evidence pointing at a need for them to change. I myself fall in this category. My next post will be called, "Why My Hard Boyz List Sucked," and try to analyze my failings as a tournament player. Hopefully I'll also illustrate what I need to do to improve.
Moving on. Mkerr told me the Fly Lords have been concerned about the increase of emphasis on competitive gaming as the primary way to play the game, and he said, and I quote here, "We've had a lot to do with that in the past. We're not blind to what our influence has been on events like Gladiator."
So what's my point there? Bell and YTTH are going to be on the opposite sides of numerous issues over the years. I actually think the Fly Lords are developing away from a mindset Stelek espouses.
Oh, yea - the big blow blow of the whole thing wasn't a comment aimed deliberately at all, but rather was a tasteless joke told on an Austin forum. The Flylords have been blamed, but it was actually someone else who wrote the line.
I won't bother looking it up - to paraphrase it was something like, "...if Stelek's wife the blowup doll can hold the jello." Obviously a reference to the miscarriage Stelek opened up about on his website.
Now I have to be really careful here. Since this is 'the' issue of the whole thing, I've decided to give my opinion, but I run the risk of giving offense where I'd rather not. So here goes.
It was a tasteless joke, but the internet has a dehumanizing effect on our behavior. It is difficult for people to behave online in the same manner they would IRL, for obvious reasons. Bottom line, you're not face to face with anyone when you're sitting in front of your computer screen typing away. This is such an obvious effect it's hardly worth the explanation, but there you go. So much of our social behavior is feedback mechanisms and pattern matching that online we tend to behave badly, almost as if we're alone and spitting out our thoughts in private.
Before you think I'm completely full of shit, I actually believe this stuff. Ever wondered why I don't use a nick, but rather post my real name, home town, and club all over my blog? Hell, there are pictures of me up here... I believe in accountability; it keeps me honest. Not that I mind nicknames, but I do think anonymous posting is pussy bullshit.
The joke sucked. Had someone directed that my way regarding Jenn, who had a miscarriage last year, I would have been hauled to jail for breaking someones jaw. Now, online is a different environment; I'd have been pissed, but it wouldn't have affected me the same way. The virtual world lacks that sort of immediacy.
My (longwinded) point is while it is important to monitor our behavior it is equally important to keep some perspective. The Flylords I have met are all really decent dudes; this is bringing more heat than merited. Also, I can't get why JWolf has been lumped in. What he said is a very valid point: anyone who works hard to make himself a public figure needs to be careful what doors they open onto their private life. That's not the same thing as telling the joke, or even agreeing with it.
Stelek has blown rage all over folks in numerous different forums - he can hardly cry foul at every low blow. What he can do, and did, is repost the material on his site and generate a huge amount of publicity. He's a smart dude; let's not feel too sorry for him. His actions are that of someone who knows exactly what he is doing.
So, like I said, I've run the risk of offending people. Wasn't my intention, but... well, you know my name and where I live. :)
Take care guys - Brent